SPRINGFIELD - Why, after 40 years of failure, is the Equal Rights Amendment on the front burner again? The movement fell three state short when the extended deadline passed in 1982, but ERA proponents believe the deadlines can be challenged and won at the U.S. Supreme Court level.
The Democrat-driven Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) revival may be a back door means of legalizing same-sex marriage, some legal experts say. The amendment passed both houses of Congress in 1973, but failed to be ratified by the necessary 38 states; it has been reintroduced each year since.
“It’s a real simple argument,” said long-time ERA opponent Phyllis Schlafly. “ERA would make all federal and state laws sex neutral. If two men show up and say we want a marriage license and [the person] says ‘you’re both men, I’m not giving it to you,’ that would be discriminatory.”
Schlafly said ERA would only apply to laws that are currently not sex-neutral such as marriage and the draft. But it would have no bearing on those such as employment laws, because they are already sex neutral.
Shari Rendall, the Director of Legislation and Public Policy at Concerned Women for America (CWA), agrees with Schafly, adding that she thinks ERA is just a front for a feminist agenda.
“[ERA] is not so much about rights as committing a feminist agenda, an attempt to create a gender neutral community,” Rendall said. One of those feminist agenda items, Rendall said, was the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Opponents argue that, under ERA, equality would not be denied on "account" of sex” and therefore it would be illegal to ban two citizens of the same sex from getting married. Although it wouldn’t explicitly allow gay marriage, ERA would prevent it from being excluded because there would no longer be a separate legal definition for “man” and for “woman."
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