The Utah State Legislature voted Wednesday to send the Gender-Neutral Constitutional Language Amendment to the ballot for the election on November 3, 2020.
The amendment was designed to remove gender-specific language in the state constitution and replace it with gender-neutral language. For example, it would make the following changes among others:
- “all men” to “all persons,”
- “he” to “the person,”
- “him” to “the accused,” and
- “himself” to “himself or herself.”
The amendment was introduced into the legislature as Senate Joint Resolution 7 on January 29, 2019. SJR 7 was sponsored by Republican Senator Deidre Henderson of Utah’s 7th Senate District. The Senate approved the measure unanimously on February 26, 2019, except that two Republican Senators—Allen Christensen and Jerry Stevenson—were absent or not voting. On March 6, 2019, the House passed SJR 7 unanimously except for the 10 Republicans and two Democrats who were absent or not voting.
From 1996 through 2018, the state legislature referred 42 constitutional amendments to the ballot. Voters approved 38 and rejected four of the referred amendments. All of the amendments were referred to the ballot for general elections during even-numbered election years. The average number of amendments appearing on the general election ballot was between three and four. The approval rate at the ballot box was 90.48 percent during the 20-year period from 1996 through 2018. The rejection rate was 9.52 percent.