On Wednesday, in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and that states have an obligation to perform same-sex marriages, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, introduced a bill to ensure that the United States Code reflects the equality of all marriages.
The Amend the Code for Marriage Equality Act of 2015 would strike the use of gendered terms such as “husband” and “wife” from the federal code and replace them with more gender-neutral terms, such as “spouse” or “married couple.”
“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 proposed legislation would not only ensure that the code reflects marriage equality, but it could also make several positive changes to the U.S. Code by removing areas of gender discrimination written into federal law. For instance, it is currently illegal to threaten the president’s wife — but not the president’s husband. Capps’ bill would update the code to make it illegal to threaten the president’s spouse. The bill would correct a number of these types of discrepancies in the code.
The bill currently has 23 original co-sponsors.
— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.