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house Bill H.R. 98

Should References to "Husbands" and "Wives" be Changed to “Spouses” In Federal Law?

Argument in favor

Federal law should be gender neutral, and as a result a lot of bills with outdated references to “husbands” and “wives” need to be changed to “spouse” so that same-sex couples aren’t denied rights.

Joshua's Opinion
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01/29/2017
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.
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LadyNerd's Opinion
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01/29/2017
If for no other reason than to afford people equal dignity and to simplify the writing of legislation.
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Anthony's Opinion
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01/29/2017
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.
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Argument opposed

It’s unlikely that anyone would be denied a right as a spouse under current law just because it references “husbands” and “wives,” and if they were courts would overturn it.

SimplePremise's Opinion
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01/29/2017
Aren't there more important things to work on? This seems trivial.
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Loraki's Opinion
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01/29/2017
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!
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B.R.'s Opinion
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01/29/2017
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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bill Progress


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

Bill Details

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Title

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.

Summary

Amend the Code for Marriage Equality Act of 2017 This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), the Social Security Act (SSAct), and other federal laws (including provisions concerning workers' compensation, retirement benefits, disability and death benefits, insurance, inheritances, or immigration) to replace: (1) references to "wife" or "husband" with references to "spouse"; and (2) references to "husband and wife" or "husband or wife" with references to "married couple" or " married person." For purposes of federal laws or regulations, "marriage" is defined as a legal union between two people as spouses. The bill eliminates a definition of "spouse" that refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. Requirements concerning compensation to a surviving wife after the disability or death of a person employed at a military, air, or naval base outside the United States are revised to make surviving spouses eligible for such compensation. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, provisions concerning the amount of leave available to a husband and wife employed by the same employer are revised to apply to a married couple employed by the same employer. Requirements under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 that make disability and death benefits payable to the wife or widow of a miner are revised to make the benefits payable to the spouse or surviving spouse of a miner. IRC provisions that require a divorced wife's gross income to include the income of any trust she is entitled to receive that would otherwise be includible in the gross income of her husband, or vice versa, are revised to apply to the gross income of individuals who are divorced from their spouse. The bill revises title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) of the SSAct to consolidate separate provisions for a wife's insurance benefits and a husband's insurance benefits into a single standard for a spouse's insurance benefits. Criminal penalties that currently apply to persons who threaten to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon a former President's wife or widow are revised to apply to threats made to a former President's spouse or surviving spouse.
    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)
    Follow
    Share
    Aren't there more important things to work on? This seems trivial.
    Like (198)
    Follow
    Share
    If for no other reason than to afford people equal dignity and to simplify the writing of legislation.
    Like (642)
    Follow
    Share
    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)
    Follow
    Share
    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.
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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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    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.
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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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    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.
    Like (45)
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    For equality and respect
    Like (38)
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    So political correctness is what we should be wasting Congress time and money on? What's next I have to put in a transgendered bathroom in my home? Ridiculous. I am not a spouse I am a husband. Maybe we should just be called humans or earthlings.
    Like (33)
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    Spouce is a term that does not exclude a large portion of American citizens of course we should opt for more inclusive terminology. Why do we even question being more inclusive of our citizens?
    Like (29)
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