ROCHESTER, Minn.- On Monday evening, 4 courageous young women walked into the Rochester City Hall with high hopes.
They had already worked with city staff to change the masculine gendered pronouns in the city charter to be gender neutral. For example, when talking about the mayoral duties it referred to the mayor as 'he'. Now, to be inclusive of all, it just refers to the mayor and 'the mayor'.
The last part of the charter the young women were hoping to change was Chapter 2 subdivision 3 which states, "In construing this charter, words and phrases in the masculine gender include the feminine and shall not indicate any bias as to sex."
They stood in front of council members explaining how this subdivision is exclusive and wanted it changed to say, "In construing this charter, words and phrases shall be gender neutral and in no way indicate any bias as to sex. if language used in the charter appears to mistakenly or purposefully favor one gender over another, it shall be assumed that the word or phrase in question includes all genders."
All council members nodded their heads and had pleasant smiles as the 4 young women approached the potium to state their case. The vote needed to be unanimous to pass, so with a 6-1 vote, it failed.
Mark Hickey was the only council member who was opposed, but councilman Wojcik proposed putting this item in the November election ballot so the public could decide. Again, the vote was 6-1 so we will see this item on the ballot in November. The 4 young women tell KIMT this is not over, and the future is bright. They hope to see the public come out and vote to have this wording changed to be inclusive of all community members.