According to a press release, yesterday U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan’s (WI-02) bill, the 21st Century President Act (H.R. 3285), passed the House unanimously by voice vote. The release states that Pocan’s bill would make commonsense updates to gendered language in the U.S. Code, reflecting the reality that a woman or LGBTQ+ person will someday hold the office of the presidency. Without this change, the law that makes it a crime to threaten to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon the President or the President’s family would fail to explicitly include a future female president or president with a same-sex spouse.
18 U.S.C. 879 makes it a criminal act to threaten to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon the President, a former President, a candidate for President, or a member of their family, while referring to Presidents as men and to their spouses as wives. The bipartisan 21st Century President Act would replace the terms “wife” and “widow” with “spouse,” and replaces gender-specific pronouns referring to the President and presidential spouses with gender-neutral terms to extend full protection to anyone elected to become the president and first family. To read the full legislation, see the document below.