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house Bill H.R. 677

Should Gendered References to the President and 'His' Spouse Be Removed From the U.S. Code?

Argument in favor

Gendered language in the U.S. Code referencing presidents as male and their spouses as female reinforces the expectation that presidents will be male and their spouses will be female. Given the wide field of presidential candidates in the 2020 field — including female and non-heterosexual candidates — the U.S. Code gendered references to straight male presidents should be stricken.

Matthew's Opinion
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07/07/2019
Language unconsciously shapes thought through emotional reactions. Frank Luntz (Republican pollster) knew this quite well and used smart word choices effectively on behalf of Republican candidates. THAT is the reason language should be gender-neutral.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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07/10/2019
More than half the country is women. That is not a special interest group. Words matter. Remove gender bias language from ALL our legal code!
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Cndrla's Opinion
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07/10/2019
Gendered language in the U.S. Code referencing presidents as male and their spouses as female reinforces the expectation that presidents will be male and their spouses will be female. Given the wide field of presidential candidates in the 2020 field — including female and non-heterosexual candidates — the U.S. Code gendered references to straight male presidents should be stricken.
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Argument opposed

Whether the U.S. Code references presidents as male and their spouses as female doesn’t affect the public’s perception of presidential candidates’ viability for higher office or how the law treats presidents and their spouses. Rather than wasting Congress’ time on this purely symbolic bill, it’d be better to focus on ensuring that public perceptions of female and non-heterosexual candidates are fair.

Chris's Opinion
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07/07/2019
We must stop pandering to every special interest group. This is insanity
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Ronald's Opinion
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07/10/2019
This is not a problem. We have a security crisis at Our Border, a homeless crisis in Our cities, and many other problems. Work on problems. Do not look for them. Ignore trivialities.
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Cherie65's Opinion
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07/10/2019
This is the best democrats can do? This is more important than infrastructure, Heath care, immigration? What a bunch of hooey. Wasters, all of them.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 17th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 677?

This bill — the 21st Century President Act — would remove gendered references to the president and their spouse in the U.S. Code. This would entail removing references to presidents as men and their spouses as wives. 

Impact

U.S. Code; presidents; and presidential spouses.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 677

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced this bill to clarify that presidents don’t have to be men and their spouses don’t have to be wives:

“In 2016, one of the two major party candidates for President was a woman with a husband and in 2020, for the first time in history, we may have more presidential candidates who are women than men, as well as a potential LGBTQ candidate who is married. The U.S. Code should not assume that Presidents will be men or that they will only marry women, especially when describing which people will or will not be protected by federal law. While this language may have been accepted when the original law was enacted, it does not reflect the America of today and I look forward to ensuring that federal law recognizes this reality.”

This bill has 39 Democratic cosponsors.


Of NoteStudies have shown that gendered wording in reference to jobs and careers limits discussions, makes male-sounding jobs sound less appealing to women, and affects day-to-day perceptions of who belongs in certain professions. BYU English professor Delys Snyder argues that “in changing the language, [you are probably] changing the way people see who could be in this job.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / BasSlabbers)

AKA

21st Century President Act

Official Title

To amend gendered terms in Federal law relating to the President and the President's spouse.

    Language unconsciously shapes thought through emotional reactions. Frank Luntz (Republican pollster) knew this quite well and used smart word choices effectively on behalf of Republican candidates. THAT is the reason language should be gender-neutral.
    Like (62)
    Follow
    Share
    We must stop pandering to every special interest group. This is insanity
    Like (58)
    Follow
    Share
    More than half the country is women. That is not a special interest group. Words matter. Remove gender bias language from ALL our legal code!
    Like (45)
    Follow
    Share
    Gendered language in the U.S. Code referencing presidents as male and their spouses as female reinforces the expectation that presidents will be male and their spouses will be female. Given the wide field of presidential candidates in the 2020 field — including female and non-heterosexual candidates — the U.S. Code gendered references to straight male presidents should be stricken.
    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
    This is not a problem. We have a security crisis at Our Border, a homeless crisis in Our cities, and many other problems. Work on problems. Do not look for them. Ignore trivialities.
    Like (35)
    Follow
    Share
    This is the best democrats can do? This is more important than infrastructure, Heath care, immigration? What a bunch of hooey. Wasters, all of them.
    Like (31)
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    Share
    This section of the U.S. Code is outdated and needs to be amended. There is no reason to think we will not have a female President in the not so distant future.
    Like (22)
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    Yes. Of course. It is ridiculous to ask
    Like (21)
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    Gender distinctions and their references are disappearing from US culture, as well as many other countries throughout the world. This appears to be an unavoidable cultural adjustment.
    Like (15)
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    You were born in either a male or female. It cannot be changed and you should be referenced by your birth gender. Not by the way you feel that day! Supporting transgenderism is supporting mental and physical abuse.
    Like (13)
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    Serious question for serious times. So happy our US House has found time to discuss this gut disturbing issue. Hopefully, the sponsoring Congressmen of this bill will be primarried out of office.
    Like (12)
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    Gendered reference to all elected officials should be removed from all statutes
    Like (11)
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    Federal Code should updated, it is a simple Vote, as it is just removing a few words. No need for any Partisan bickering over it. A simple yes or no vote. The Bill could just authorize for the entire Code to be Gender neutral. While this may seem like a little point, it can have many consequences.
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    This is a bit ridiculous. Half the people this would appease have never read that Constitution and have no idea they should pretend to be offended
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    This is the stupid crap that democrats worry about.
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    Wow! It’s like you people get dumber by the second?!
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    What kind of question is this? This is total lunacy. If the president is a man then he is a man and his wife is a woman!! Never has a doctor delivered a baby and said the gender is to be determined!! Gender isn’t established by choice!! What is wrong with people who are intent on trying to confuse gender?? The answer is choosing to be deranged and perverted!!
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    Of course gender references should be updated in the US Code. With any luck we will soon have a sane, sensible, intelligent woman as President and this nightmare will be behind us.
    Like (8)
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    Most arguments for this claim that words matter. Apparently words only matter if you’re a woman, minority or liberal. By god if you’re a Conservative words don’t mean shit. It’s then just considered free speech. To this issue, let’s focus on problems that are currently happening instead of looking for shit to bitch about Before the PC culture took over. “His” was used as a generic term, not literal. Democrats always take it to the extreme. Yes to equality for everyone doesn’t mean everyone is literally equal. I.e men are women and women are men. Stop with the nonsense and get to work!
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    No change. Great use of taxpayer assets with this garbage bill
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