Utah’s constitution could be gender neutral under a bill that passed a Senate committee

Posted at 4:53 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 22:15:32-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A Senate committee quickly approved a bill to make Utah’s Constitution use gender-neutral language.

With no dissent and no one speaking in opposition to the bill, the Senate Government Operations Committee unanimously approved Senate Joint Resolution 7, sponsored by Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork.

The bill replaces earlier and older sections of Utah’s Constitution with gender-neutral terms. For example, the opening article reads:

“All men have the inherent and inalienable right to enjoy and defend their lives and liberties; to acquire, possess and protect property; to worship according to the dictates of their consciences; to assemble peaceably, protest against wrongs, and petition for redress of grievances; to communicate freely their thoughts and opinions, being responsible for the abuse of that right.”

Sen. Henderson is proposing to replace “men” with “persons.” Later amendments to the Utah Constitution already use gender-neutral terms.

“There are 237 sections of our Utah Constitution. This bill amends six of them that are written out of alignment with the rest,” she told the Senate committee on Tuesday.

Because it is a proposed change to the constitution, it must go before voters if it passes the Utah State Legislature. SJR7 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.