Representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin filed a bill on Thursday that would officially recognize that women and LGBTQ people can become president of the United States.
The elected official, who is gay, introduced what he is calling the 21st Century President Act, which he hopes will change “outdated” definitions in the U.S. code and clarify that presidents aren’t always men nor do their spouses need to be wives.
“The U.S. Code should not assume that Presidents will be men or that they will only marry women,” Pocan said in a recent statement, “especially when describing which people will or will not be protected by federal law.”
Currently, the code in question makes it a criminal act to threaten to kill, inflict bodily harm or kidnap the president, former or current, or any member of the president’s family. The language in this law uses male pronouns when referring to the president and female when referring to the spouse.
Pocan argues it’s this pronoun usage that is what currently allows the federal law from explicitly supporting any presidential election of a candidate who identifies as female or LGBTQ.
The openly gay official says he pushing for this legislation now due to the 2016 election cycle already having at least one woman representing a major party, and now the 2020 cycle potentially having more female candidates for president than ever before.
High profile politicians such as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have already made formal announcements to run and rumors of Sen. Kamala Harris continue to circulate in the wake of her recent book publishing that suggests ambitions to become president.
“While this language may have been accepted when the original law was enacted, it does not reflect the America of today and I look forward to ensuring that federal law recognizes this reality,” Pocan stated.
If passed, the law would read:
"...with respect to subsection (a)(1) of this section, the
wife spouse of a former President during his a former President’s lifetime, the widow surviving spouse of a former President until her the surviving spouse’s death or remarriage, and minor children of a former President until they reach sixteen years of age”