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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Federal law should be gender neutral, and as a result a lot of bills with outdated references to “husbands” and “wives” need to be changed to “spouse” so that same-sex couples aren’t denied rights.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
    Verbiage of "spouses" over husband or wife is a universally inclusive term that helps mitigate the possibility of civil rights violations. Replacing the terms husband or wife in federal laws with spouse will protect everyone who is married and not just those who husband or wife could apply to.
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    It's a given that we should do this
    Like (24)
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    This just makes sense. We refer to an offspring as 'child', no matter the gender. So 'spouse' for a married couple makes sense.
    Like (22)
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    I just don't see the point in doing this.
    Like (21)
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    In America, all persons are created equal & should be treated as such in the eyes of & before the law. Making changes to written law should be automatic & devoid of partisan rhetoric. Anyone who says otherwise has something to gain from stagnation of progress.
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    So sick of everyone catering to this ridiculous shit.
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    Unless they are trying to state that the woman married to the woman is not a wife but a husband, or vise versa for the men then I see no need to change legislative language.
    Like (18)
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    Because specific wordings are integral to our interpretation of laws, outdated language needs to be updated to reflect our modern society.
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    A simple change to be inclusive.
    Like (15)
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    This is the best way to ensure our language is inclusive and non-discriminatory.
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    This would allow all married people to be treated equally. No one would be able to make any assumptions about anyone who applies for any benefits.
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    Regardless your opinion on the matter of marriage equality, it happened and we need to better adapt our language to respect that.
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    There is no need to spend time on this
    Like (13)
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    Makes everything more equal and inclusive.
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    Everyone deserves the same respect regardless of sexual preference!
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    Since gay marriage is legal, this should be a no brainer.
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    Based on the Bible referencing "a man shall leave his mother and father and cling to his wife," along with the biblical foundations of this country, this would be a terrible mistake. Erasing "man," "woman," "husband," or "wife" for a social agenda would increase the speed at which society appears to be falling. What would be next? Boy and girl merely referred to as children? No gender identity? To many, being identified as a husband or wife is considered an honor and achievement. Having a newly born daughter myself, I can assure you she will be raised with a strong identity of a woman; she can accomplish anything she desires, however, she is still a woman. That isn't meant as a derogatory statement, women can accomplish many things a man can't....to this day I'll gladly admit that my wife can do some things that continue to astound me, that is the way that women were designed....by God.
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    As someone engaged to a person who does not identify as male or female, I absolutely believe that federal law should change references to husbands and wives to spouses instead. It's 2017...let's move forward.
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    Stupid. The US has been using Husband and Wife for 240 years and centuries before in Europe. Sounds like a silly idea to change the system because a snowflake in Boston demands a change. Addendum: Notice the questions make Husbands and Wives plural? Is this a sneaky way to recognize multiple marriages between Muslins or the new variety of homo/trans peoples? I'm I overthinking?
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    Another unnecessary waste of time distracting representatives from doing important work!
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