More in the War on Words

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that redefines marriage and replaces the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ with the generic term ‘spouse.’ SB 1306 will take effect on January 1, 2015 and removes limits on recognizing same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.

“Under existing law, a reference to ‘husband’ and ‘wife,’ ‘spouses,’ or ‘married persons,’ or a comparable term, includes persons who are lawfully married to each other and persons who were previously lawfully married to each other, as is appropriate under the circumstances of the particular case,” it reads. “The bill would delete references to ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ in the Family Code and would instead refer to a ‘spouse,’ and would make other related changes.”

The legislation had been presented by Senator Mark Leno after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn the 9th Circuit ruling that declared California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional. However, with the court’s ruling against Proposition 8, Leno sought to likewise change California law to alter the definition of marriage and reflect same-sex nuptials.

“I am pleased Governor Brown has recognized the importance of this bill, which makes it explicitly clear in state law that every loving couple has the right to marry in California,” Leno commented in a statement this week. “This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender.”

Prop. 8 is still technically part of California’s Constitution, despite being ruled unconstitutional by a federal court in 2010. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal in June 2013, and two days later, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco lifted its injunction blocking the ruling that it was unconstitutional.

The National Organization for Marriage, a US-based pro-traditional marriage group, said the move was: “Further proof that redefining marriage is not simply about ‘equality’ or expanding the institution to include more kinds of relationships”.

Rather, it added, it is “about fundamentally altering the meaning of the institution itself, and discarding terms like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ to ‘the ash heap of history.’”

Last year, Brown signed into law a controversial bill allowing transgender students to use the bathroom and join the sports teams or clubs corresponding to their gender identity. Lawmakers also passed a law last year that makes it easier for transgender people to change their gender and name on their birth certificate.

This fits right in with the banning of ‘Redskins,’ ‘Illegal alien,’ and ‘bossy.’ It also works well with Progressivism’s rapid movement away from a truly American ideal — ‘free speech.’

In May of this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed new legislation that banned swearing during public performances such as theater plays, cinema and other forms of art. Under the new anti-F word law, which take effects on July 1, persons caught swearing during public performances would pay a penalty of $750 while organizations and companies would be fined about $1,500.

In April, a similar law was also passed prohibiting swearing-in media. The new list of banned words considered as swearing has yet to be officially released.

However, last year the Institute of Russian Language at the Russian Academy of Sciences listed four words that represented swearing. They included words illustrating the male and female organ, an immoral woman and the act of copulation which were not allowed to be spoken in any form of art.

The new law shocked many Russians and drew a lot of criticism.

Swearing has played an important role in Russian literary art where even some of the country’s best writers are prolific with cursing. These include classical pieces from Alexander Pushkin to the works of Vladimir Sorokin, a contemporary post-modernist writer.

The Culture Ministry of Russia clarified that the swearing ban was directed to the mass culture and not toward art.

Culture Ministry representative Irina Kaznacheeva claims the new legislation aims to regulate the industry so that cursing would deliver a purpose. She added that it would depend on how the artistic director of a public performance would decide on how to deliver the swearing, whether it breaks the new legislation or not.

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About Tom Darby

French-born, American-raised, U.S. citizen, husband, father, friend, veteran, and writer.
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