Rochester councilman reverses opposition to make city charter gender neutral

A Rochester city councilman is reversing his position on a proposal to edit the city charter language and make it entirely gender neutral.

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 9:02 AM
Updated: Mar 21, 2018 9:53 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A Rochester city councilman is reversing his position on a proposal to edit the city charter language and make it entirely gender neutral.

Rochester City Councilman Mark Hickey was the single opposing vote at Monday night’s city council meeting regarding a request by four local woman to edit the city’s charter language.

The Rochester City Charter previously used masculine gendered pronouns. For example, when noting mayoral duties, the charter referred to the mayor as “he.” The Rochester City Charter previously used masculine gendered pronouns. For example, when noting mayoral duties, the charter referred to the mayor as “he.”

The charter previously used masculine gendered pronouns. For example, when noting mayoral duties, the charter referred to the mayor as “he.”

RELATED: City Council Vote to Change City Charter Language Fails

In an effort to make the charter inclusive to all, the women already worked with city staff to edit the charter to use gender neutral nouns. In the mayoral example, the language was adjusted to use “the mayor.”

However, there was one final portion of the charter that the women were hoping to change: 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."

The proposal was presented during Monday’s city council meeting to change the language to, "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."

DOCUMENT: Read The City Charter

In order for the amendment to pass, the vote must have been unanimous, but with a vote of 6-1, it failed.

Hickey issued a statement to KIMT Tuesday that read, in part, “The language does no harm and I will support it at the April 2 city council meeting.”

Be sure to stay with KIMT News 3 for continuing coverage at the next council meeting in April.

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