A New Constitutional Apersondment


We hold this truth to be self-evident, that not all Joint Resolutions are created equal.

For the second year in a row, State Rep. Ryan Dvorak has introduced a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that removes all gender-specific references. House Joint Resolution 1 is a proposed amendment that would take out every reference to “he”, “him”, or “his” in the state’s founding document.

It may be an admirable effort to bring a little more gender equality to Indiana, but in doing so, Dvorak has started a War on Pronouns.

You see, rather than just adding “or her” to every instance of “his”, the South Bend Democrat has made the Constitution much more verbose than it needs to be. To wit:

If his the justice’s or judge’s conviction is reversed, suspension terminates and he the justice or judge shall be paid his the justice’s or judge’s salary for the period of suspension. If he the justice or judge is suspended and his the conviction becomes final the Supreme Court shall remove him the justice or judge from office

This legislation is like the love child of I’m Just A Bill and Rafaella Gabriella Sarsparilla. If the legal world isn’t ready for the singular they, the least he or she can do is use both the masuline and feminine pronouns.

Now, the proposal probably isn’t going anywhere. Last year, it died in the House Judiciary Committee without a vote. Even so, Indiana isn’t the first state to try this. Florida was the first state to make the leap back in 1997. Now there’s at least half a dozen states who’ve done the same.

Some have even tried to neuter the entire code. Time wrote an article in 2013 about Washington state’s effort to make all their laws gender-neutral. It took 5 bills, the last of which was 500 pages. And they found it much more difficult than doing a CTRL+F.

Other replacements required slightly more creative solutions: ombudsman became ombudsPenmanship, perhaps the least offensive gender-biased word known to man or woman, became handwriting. Watchmen became security guards. And freshmen became first-year students….There was no clear alternative to manhole either, Thiessen says. Revisers considered utility hole, but that doesn’t connote size like manhole does. One might only be able to stick a wire through a “utility hole,” he says, but a manhole — that’s for humans.

Stop, you guys!

Gender equality is important, but MAN is it annoying sometimes.

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