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Legislature passes resolution to make Utah Constitution gender neutral

By Emily Ashcraft, KSL | Posted - Mar. 7, 2019 at 9:35 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — With a unanimous House vote, the Legislature approved a resolution to make the Utah Constitution gender neutral.

It will now go to the public for a vote in the next general election.

SJR7 is sponsored by Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, and Rep. John Knotwell, R-Herriman. Only six of the 237 sections in the Utah Constitution would be affected.

"This conforms the language and the terminology to the other 231 sections in the constitution that are already written like this," Knotwell said.

The Utah Constitution says that courts will be open to "he and him," and lists rights for a "he" who is accused. The proposed change would make both apply to everyone, according to Knotwell.

It would also change language to clarify those who are not male can be tried on impeachment and serve as the legislative auditor.

It also modifies the words wife and husband to make them gender neutral. Language stating "a wife shall not be compelled to testify against her husband, nor a husband against his wife," is modified to say "a person shall not be compelled to testify against the person's spouse."

If passed in the general election, the changes would go into effect at the beginning of 2021.

Emily Ashcraft

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