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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      House Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2017

What is it?

This bill would change all references to “wife” or “husband” in the Internal Revenue Code, the Social Security Act, and other federal laws concerning spousal benefits to “spouse.” All references to “husband and wife” would be replaced with “married couple.” It would eliminate a definition of “spouse” that only refers to a person of the opposite sex.

Other federal laws that would be amended by this legislation include those related to family medical leave, disability and death benefits for the spouse of a miner, tax law related to divorces, and spousal insurance benefits. Additionally, a law imposing criminal penalties on someone who threatens a president’s spouse would be amended.

Impact

Spouses; courts; and federal agencies.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: When she cosponsored this legislation during the 114th Congress, sponsoring Rep. Julie Brownley (D-CA) offered the following statement:

“As a strong supporter of equal rights, I support [this] bill because it will help ensure the Constitution’s promise of equality for all Americans. Discrimination has no place in our laws.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Benson Kua / Creative Commons)

AKA

Amend the Code for Marriage Equality Act of 2017

Official Title

To replace references to "wives" and "husbands" in Federal law with references to "spouses", and for other purposes.

    Arguments about language are often disparagingly written off as "semantics" but this is an important issue. Removing heterosexist language from the documents that govern our lives reinforces our shared belief that all people are created equal, even if they aren't interested in marrying someone of the opposite sex.
    Like (1372)
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    Aren't there more important things to work on? This seems trivial.
    Like (198)
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    If for no other reason than to afford people equal dignity and to simplify the writing of legislation.
    Like (642)
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    Something as simple as changing the language of our laws goes a long way in making all citizens feel included and accepted in our society. Every time I have to cross out "wife" or "mother" on a form it is a small but poignant way of delegitimizing my family.
    Like (582)
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    I'm in a same-sex marriage. When my government assumes me or my husband must be of the opposite sex, it's infuriating and wrong. Please support this measure.
    Like (372)
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    Definitely. Terminology should change with the times. Plus, the whole "husband and wife" thing sounds like it could be used as a legal loophole, so we should probably get rid of it.
    Like (206)
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    Given the Supreme Court ruling on LGBT rights to marry, we should change the laws to reflect more gender neutral terminology.
    Like (192)
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    Not only is changing "husband/wife" verbiage to "spouse" on legal documents kinder to less than typical marriage arrangements, it's more efficient! Work toward a smaller government, with less taxpayer money used to clear up confusion and disputes.
    Like (174)
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    Marriage as recognized through the federal government is a legal contract between two people, not a romantic relationship. Language that helps us move towards a more strictly legal perspective on marriage and away from defining marriage as heterosexual, or as defining it through traditional gender roles is meaningful. Not only through a liberal agenda but also as a matter of applicability in a modern world.
    Like (140)
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    Part of the gaystapo lobbying agenda! They won't be happy until we have a GENDERLESS SOCIETY! RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE! WE MUST RESIST FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!
    Like (112)
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    Why hasn't this been done already?!
    Like (111)
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    Our government claims to be separated by church and state but insisting on using the language of "wife" and "husband" in federal law not only excludes the LGBT community, but oftentimes are backed for Christian reasons. Please hear me when I say we are not a country of white, heterosexual Christian males. We are a country with people of all different kinds of sexual orientations. It's about time we support the people that make us so diverse, that help other countries think America is the country of the free world.
    Like (103)
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    "We the people" means everyone.
    Like (92)
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    Why not, it's more inclusive.
    Like (70)
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    Of course! It's just one step closer to the protection of all marriages.
    Like (64)
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    Non sense. There already laws that address this issue. Redundant and sad use of resources.
    Like (62)
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    This seems like common sense.
    Like (56)
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    Move past antiquated roles and have the gender-neutral term everywhere.
    Like (48)
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    Spouse, by definition, is husband & wife. So unless the terms for a same sex marriage is changing, I do not see the need to do so.
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    Gender is pointless in legal documents
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