The Missouri House of Representatives adopted a stricter dress code this week as part of a new rules package, but it only applies to women.
The amendment was passed in a voice vote and the rules package was later adopted by the GOP-controlled legislature in a 105-51 vote. The dress code now requires women in the House to cover their shoulders by wearing a jacket, blazer or cardigan. The addition was proposed by Republican state Rep. Ann Kelly, who said she felt compelled to offer the change that "cleans up some of the language … by mirroring the language in the gentleman’s dress code." via CNN.
"Men are required to wear a jacket a shirt and a tie, correct? And if they walked in here without a tie, they would get gaveled down in a heartbeat. If they walked in without a jacket, they would get gaveled down in a heartbeat. So, we are so interested in being equal," Kelley said on Wednesday during the floor debate.
The addition sparked outrage from some Democrats who said the change was sexist because the men's dress code was not altered. "Do you know what it feels like to have a bunch of men in this room looking at your top trying to determine if it’s appropriate or not?" Democratic state Rep. Ashley Aune proclaimed from the House floor. Democratic state Rep. Peter Meredith went as far as refusing to vote on the amendment. "I don’t think I’m qualified to say what’s appropriate or not appropriate for women and I think that is a really dangerous road for us all to go down."