Hageman Calls Bill To Strike ‘Husband’ And ‘Wife’ From Federal Law ‘Woke Messaging’

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman says new legislation proposed by California Democrat to remove “husband” and “wife” from federal law is nothing more than “woke messaging.”

Leo Wolfson

July 19, 20233 min read

Harriet Hageman
Harriet Hageman (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman doesn’t believe proposed legislation that would remove the words "husband" and "wife" from federal law and replace them with terms like "spouse" is anything more than “another woke messaging bill” from Democrats and President Joe Biden.

“Anything to deflect from inflation, gas prices, food prices and the overall failed policies of the Biden administration and his accomplices in the legislative branch,” the Wyoming Republican told Cowboy State Daily.

The legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-California, seeks to change a number of existing laws by striking “husband” and “wife” from their text because they’re too gender-specific.

Brownley’s "Amend the Code for Marriage Equality Act” also replaces husband and wife with phrases like "a married couple," "married person" and "person who has been, but is no longer, married to.’’

"Now more than ever, with an extreme Supreme Court and state legislatures rolling back the rights of the LGBTQ community, it is imperative that Congress showcases its commitment to supporting equality," Brownley said in a statement. "This common-sense bill will ensure that our federal code reflects the equality of all marriages by recognizing and acting upon the notion that the words in our laws have meaning and our values as a country are reflected in our laws."

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment requires all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Brownley said this is not enough.

A recent Supreme Court ruling determined that businesses can refuse services to LGBTQ people for religious reason. LGBTQ advocates have criticized the decision as opening the door for discrimination. 

Brownley’s legislation likely faces an uphill battle as Democrats are in the minority in the U.S. House.

Wyoming Perspective

There haven’t been any bills passed directly addressing same-sex marriage in Wyoming since 2003, when an explicit ban was enacted. The last attempt at addressing the issue was in 2018.

The state recently passed legislation prohibiting transgender girls from participating in girls’sports. This law could be challenged as a result of a recently proposed Biden Title IX rule that would enact a more localized approach to transgender sports.

Hageman’s has said before she believes gay marriage to be a state-level issue.

“The issue of gay marriage is something that has already been settled by the Supreme Court and I don’t foresee it being an issue that would come before Congress,” she told Cowboy State Dailylast year. “When I am speaking to voters, it’s not an issue that arises.”

Hageman told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that instead of bills like Brownley’s, she will “continue to work with my Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives to fix the real issues that are crushing families and small businesses across our country.”

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter