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Gender-specific language may be removed from Muskegon's 152-year-old city charter

Muskegon voters may be asked to decide in November if they want the city's charter to be gender neutral.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — MUSKEGON, Mich. — Muskegon City Commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would place a charter amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The proposed amendment would remove all gender-specific terminology from the Muskegon City Charter. Gender-specific terminology would be replaced with gender-neutral terms.

In order to make changes to the 152-year-old charter, commissioners must first vote in favor of a resolution to place the amendment on the ballot. That could happen when the Muskegon City Commission meets Tuesday. The City Charter can be amended by a simple majority of voters in the city.

The city's attorney found "26 sections of the Charter" that would need amending in order to make the charter gender neutral.

If approved by voters, the pronouns he, him and his would be removed and replaced with appropriate titles like mayor or city clerk.

"The suggestion percolated up for some updates and modernization," said Muskegon Mayor Stephen Gawron. "Talent, dedication and love of community isn't based on gender."

According to the resolution before commissioners Tuesday the changes would “make it clear that the Charter applies equally to all persons, regardless of gender.”

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