Senate committee unanimously approves gender-neutral amendments to the Utah Constitution

(Scott Sommerdorf | Tribune file photo) Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, during an interview, Thursday, January 25, 2018.

Utah’s state constitution would lose much of its gender-specific terminology under a proposed amendment that sailed past a Senate panel on Tuesday.

Members of the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee voted unanimously for SJR7, which would edit the constitution’s language to replace “husband” and “wife” with “spouse,” and swaps out words like “man,” “him" and “he” with “person,” “the accused" and “himself or herself.”

Sponsor Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, said much of the constitution is already gender-neutral and her proposed amendments would create consistency within the document.

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

The resolution will now be transferred to the full Senate for consideration. Its passage requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, followed by a public ratification by majority vote at the next general election, in 2020.