More than two dozen Democrats have proposed legislation that would eliminate the words “husband” and “wife” from federal law.
Those “gendered terms” would be replaced by “gender-neutral” words like “spouse” or “married couple,” according to the bill from Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif.
“The Amend the Code for Marriage Equality Act recognizes that the words in our laws have meaning and can continue to reflect prejudice and discrimination even when rendered null by our highest courts,” Capps said. “Our values as a country are reflected in our laws. I authored this bill because it is imperative that our federal code reflect the equality of all marriages.”
The Supreme Court ruled in June that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution means all states have to license same-sex marriages, a ruling that effectively ended the same-sex marriage debate in America. Capps said her bill was aimed at taking the next step, which is to ensure the United States Code “reflects the equality of all marriages.”
She said her bill would also have other benefits if it became law. In one example, she noted that U.S. law says it’s illegal to threaten the president’s wife, but says nothing about the president’s husband.
“Capps’ bill would update the code to make it illegal to threaten the president’s spouse,” her office said.
Capps might also be thinking of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who still seems like a lock to win the Democratic nomination. If she were to win the White House, former President Bill Clinton would become what some have suggested might be called the “first spouse.”