Senate Bill 97
152nd General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 1, TITLE 2, TITLE 3, TITLE 4, TITLE 5, TITLE 7, TITLE 12, TITLE 16, TITLE 25, TITLE 26, TITLE 27, TITLE 28, TITLE 29, TITLE 30, AND TITLE 31 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO GENDER SILENCING THE DELAWARE CODE.
In 1995, the General Assembly directed the Code Revisors to gender neutralize or otherwise ensure that a solely masculine or feminine designation never occurs unless it could only apply to one gender. The Code Revisors followed this direction and worked to ensure that laws enacted after 1995 were gender neutralized during the codification process. The Code Revisors also began working through the Delaware Code in existence in 1995 to gender neutralize existing law, a process that is not yet complete. Since 1995, the more common legislative drafting technique is to draft laws so that they are gender silent. Gender silent drafting techniques include substituting the noun for which the masculine or feminine pronoun refers. Thus, instead of drafting a law to say, “The Governor may appoint an individual if he or she deems him or her qualified”, following gender silent techniques the law would say, “The Governor may appoint an individual if the Governor deems the individual qualified.” This technique has the added benefit of providing clarity as many times use of multiple masculine or feminine pronouns can result in confusion as to which noun the pronouns refer. This Act serves two purposes. First, Section 1 of this Act directs and authorizes the Code Revisors to use gender silent techniques to ensure masculine or feminine pronouns are not used in Delaware Code unless the usage requires otherwise. Second, the goal of Sections 2 through 141 of this Act is to complete the process of removing purely masculine pronouns by using gender silent techniques, except in instances where it could not be determined which noun the masculine pronoun applied to.