Policemen Outlawed in Washington State

Firemen too. Horrible sexist terms, not gender-neutral.

It’s almost official: There soon will be no more firemen or policemen in Washington.
And they’re vanishing with barely a whimper.
The state Senate voted 41-1 on Friday to get rid of all references to “fireman” and “policeman” in a state law about public employee pensions and replace them with gender-neutral words: firefighter and police officer.
For the record, the only “no” vote didn’t come from a man. It was cast by Sen. Val Stevens, an Arlington Republican serving her 15th year in the Legislature.
“This is my reason for voting no,” Stevens told The News Tribune. “Number one, because it is silliness. Number two, it will slop over into all aspects of government and evolve into another item of political correctness. And we don’t need any more politically correct items to have to figure out and try and deal with.”

She sounds like a Neanderthal, oops, we shouldn’t use that term according to Geico. And this is more than just “police officer” and “firefighter.”

Senate Bill 5063 also tells the Office of Code Reviser, the agency that translates legislative proposals into state laws, to pore over the thousands of state statutes after the Legislature adjourns April 22 and find which laws need to change “he” to “he or she.”
The bill still must be approved by the House and signed by the governor before it becomes law.

Sounds like a waste of taxpayer money to me. State sanctioned and enforced political correctness. What is next, a rule enforcing gender-neutral debate in the State Legislature (not going to happen)? Where is Bill Maher when you need him (obviously not in Olympia, WA)?

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Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. Thomas says:

    Not a waste of taxpayer money… now, The Bridge To Nowhere is a waste of taxpayer money. The Iraq War is a waste of taxpayer money. Besides, I suspect the “waste of money” whine is convenience only, and the real objection is that it puts men and women on an equal footing. If you study history, you might notice that language is a very powerful tool. To condone the male normative is to continue to communicate the message that society is “male”, and females are a separate and lesser element of it.

    In short, you feel your manhood is threatened. You must not have much confidence in it. Sucks to be you.

  2. Eeils Bailey says:

    “and the real objection is that it puts men and women on an equal footing.”

    It is my understanding that laws have been in existence for decades that address this issue.

    I did not see but one objection stated in the article and that was from a female legislator, citing cost of changing all paperwork in the state. Will this law mandate that county and municipal governments have to make these changes? Will private businesses be required to get on board with it a limited time period? Will the individuals that do not consider themselves a he or she go to court to have their gender identification listed on all official documents?
    It’s Washington state tax payers’ money and if they have a problem with the law they need to address it. I personally think they should seriously consider changing this to something like “individual” or “person.” That would come close to including all the human beings living in the state of Washington, I hope.
    If a politician told me this law would “put men and women on equal footing,” I would laugh him out of sight. Just gets the politicians votes from people who think pandering to their emotions is “meaningful” legislation.

  3. Yeah, and the insensitivity of some people calling them pigs. I mean, what if one of them is a Muslim?

  4. Steven Plunk says:

    Waste of taxpayer money? No so much. Waste of legislative time and energy? That’s the real outrage.

    Legislative bodies should be convened to do the necessary business of the government. It seems that anymore fluff like this gets done before things like say, oh, budgets. The whole process has lost it’s serious nature while nonsense bills or, dare I say, non-binding resolutions take up time better spent on real lawmaking.

  5. floyd says:

    Thomas; You’ve had your brain washed , and can’t do a THING with it!
    [You did of course mean perSONhood didn’t you] [OH! crap! the word SON was in there wasn’t it] Should they use gender neutral terms in all their MANuals too?? OH crap their we go again![lol]

    BTW, do you support “english only” in the U.S??…. It’s about the only language that doesn’t use gender specific modifiers[adjectives&adverbs]or commonly use “gender specific”nouns even for inanimates!

  6. Michael says:

    Now from what I remember of high school English, the masculine pronouns where the proper pronouns to use in a gender-neutral or gender-unknown situation. That words like policeman, fireman, or human used the masculine forms because they are the proper gender-neutral form, not because they refer to males only. Can someone tell me if this legislation is making changes to proper American English?

  7. brainy435 says:

    Neanderthal is still OK, it’s “cave man” that is now taboo. Maybe if you used “cave person?”