Washington: A Gender-Neutral State

The state's governor signs a bill to strike specific gender references from all of Washington's laws.

BY Neal Broverman

April 26 2013 12:59 PM ET

Washington governor Jay Inslee signed a bill earlier this week that will change all the state's statutes, dating back to 1854, to gender-neutral descriptions.

Terms like "Firemen" have also already been changed to "firefighters," but the new law will go further, adjusting words like "ombudsmen" to "ombuds," and "watchmen" to "security guards."

"It brings us to modern times, to contemporary times," the bill's sponsor Sen. Jeannie Kohl-Welles said, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Why should we have in statute anything that could be viewed as biased or stereotypical or reflecting any discrimination?"

Half of the 50 states are moving to removing gender descriptions from their laws, and Florida and Minnesota have completed the process. Read more here.

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