ECENTLY, at the biannual meeting of the Dictionary Society of North America, a vote to change our constitution was taken--and passed by a very wide margin--revising the language of the society's definition of joint membership.
The change reflects the society's wish to remove restrictive definitions specifying the sex of joint members. Before the amendment, the constitution explained Joint Membership thus: "e.g. husband and wife."
The section defining categories of membership now reads: "The categories of membership are Regular, Joint (e.g., member and partner or spouse), Student, Retired, Life, and Institutional."
The DSNA carried out this reform weeks before the Supreme Court struck down laws restricting same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.
The primary definition of membership is perhaps worth revisiting: "Membership in the DSNA shall be open to any person interested in the purposes of the Corporation. These include fostering scholarly and professional activities relating to dictionaries, lexicography and lexicology. It shall carry these out by promoting the exchange of information and ideas among members by holding meetings, by encouraging research projects, by means of publications (newsletters, journals, bibliographies, directories and the like) and by any other appropriate means. Membership shall consist of those who have paid to the Executive Secretary of the Corporation the full current dues required by their category of membership."
In case you haven't read the DSNA constitution recently, you can find it here.
(The initial letter for this posting comes from The Dictionary of Syr Thomas Eliot (1538).)