A vote is set to take place today on whether to change the English version of Canada's national anthem, "O Canada," to remove a reference to "sons" and replace it with gender-inclusive language, iPolitics reports.
A bill seeking to change the lyric "in all thy sons command" to "in all of us command" was introduced in January, potentially allowing Canadians of all genders to see themselves reflected in the song of their country. The change was proposed by Liberal Member of Parliament Mauril Bélanger, who is slowly dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and had to speak in favor of the legislation using a voice generator.
Conservative legislators in the country have opposed Bélanger's bill, according to the Canadian Press. Conservative MP Erin O'Toole, who has a gender-neutral first name, said he was against the bill and "does not believe Canada should change important parts of its heritage, even when they have fallen behind the times," the news agency reports. The song was adopted as the national anthem in 1980, after having been performed in various forms for a century.
The U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," was adopted in 1931 and includes four verses, though commonly only the first verse is performed. The first verse is gender-neutral.
This move to change Canada's national anthem comes as gender identity and accommodation are being widely debated across North America, with laws aimed at limiting access to public restrooms targeting transgender Americans in North Carolina and elsewhere.