The House of Representatives passed a measure that would remove the word “lunatic” from federal law.
The 398–1 vote, conducted on Wednesday and is officially called the “21st Century Language Act of 2012,” is aimed at removing outdated and potentially demeaning wordings from federal law and “for other purposes.” The bill was unanimously voted on in the Senate when it was introduced in May.
“As science and medicine have progressed, society has come to understand mental illness with more clarity,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said on the House floor, according to The Hill.
The word is used in the U.S. Code, Title 1, Chapter 1, saying: “The words ‘insane’ and ‘insane person,’ and ‘lunatic’ shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis,” according to USA Today.
Congressman Louie Gohmert cast the single “no” vote, saying that “the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy,” reported The Associated Press.
“We should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington,” he added.
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