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Armini’s legislation looks to the future

State Representative Jenny Armini (D-Marblehead). Photo by Libby O'Neill

Massachusetts State Representative Jenny Armini (D-Marblehead) testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary for two bills Tuesday. These bills, H.30 and H.31, would amend the constitution to add “Her” and “Their” as options when using the governor’s excellency title and the lieutenant governor’s honor title.

The Constitution right now says that the governor is to be called “His Excellency” and the lieutenant governor is to be called “His Honor.”

“It’s time for the Massachusetts Constitution to catch up to history,” Armini said. “[It’s the] first time we’ve ever had a governor and the lieutenant governor both [be] women, so it seems a bit silly that our foundational document doesn’t reflect the reality of our time.”

Her view, she said, is that words “signal” to the people what and who are important.

“Language is how we communicate our values, and it’s a tool by which citizens learn who and what is important. Actions often follow accordingly,” Armini said.

Adding the pronoun “Their” is something that she said she is especially proud of.

“At some point in the not-too-distant future, we are likely to have a governor or Lieutenant Governor who is non-binary,” Armini said. “Let’s prepare for that day now.”

On Tuesday, she had have three minutes to give her testimony on behalf of the two bills.

She said the next steps would be to advocate for the bill to get on the floor for a vote.

“The original exclusion of ‘Her’ speaks to the mores of a different time in our nation’s history,” Armini said. “By including both ‘Her’ and ‘Their,’ we capture the progress made, and we ensure that all people are respected and reflected in our most important document.”

The committee will meet at 1 p.m. in the A-2 hearing room at the State House. A virtual option will also be available.