The Illinois Senate is scheduled to hear yet once again the Equal Rights Amendment in committee Wednesday. Once again, the federal effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to say: “Equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.”
There are at least nine reasons to reject the Equal Right Amendment - yet once again.
- Misleads publicized purpose - The ERA is not about equal rights for women. If it were, it would duplicate the 14th Amendment.
- Contradicts Years of Social Science -- Men and women are different. ERA would remove all legal distinctions between sexes. ERA does not mention “women.”
- Rejected time and time again -- Previous Illinois lawmakers understood the true intention of the ERA and voted it down 13 times from 1972 to 1982. Every time it has been presented in Illinois General Assembly committees since 1982, it was stopped. Five states rescinded their passage of ERA: Nebraska – 1973, Tennessee – 1974, Idaho – 1977, Kentucky – 1978, South Dakota – 1979.
- Ignores 1979 ratification deadline -- Congress granted an extension to 1982 which was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court in 1981 and the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. On October 4, 1982, the Court dismissed it as moot, stating, “The amendment has failed of adoption no matter what the resolution of the legal issues presented here.” Additionally, no states passed ERA during the time extension.
- Ends Social Security Benefits for Spouses – According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s book Sex Bias in the U.S. Code, the ERA will change 800 federal laws including the elimination of social security benefits for wives and widows. (pages 206, 211-212)
- Forces Women into Combat - “Not only would women, including mothers be subject to the draft, but the military would be compelled to place them in combat units alongside of men and in some cases… (U.S. House Judiciary Committee Report (No. 92-359, July 14, 1971). “Equality of rights under law shall not be denied…on account of sex.”
- Eliminates Child Support – “ …[I]t could relieve the fathers of the primary responsibility for the support of even infant children, as well as the support of the mothers of such children…” (U.S. House Judiciary Committee Report (No. 92-359, July 14, 1971). “Equality of rights under law shall not be denied…on account of sex.”
- Invalidates legal privacy protections - The ERA would be used to invalidate any laws or policies that prohibit men and women suffering from GID from using restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms designated for the opposite sex.“Equality of rights under law shall not be denied…on account of sex.”
- Gives even more power to Federal Government -- Section II of the ERA states that “The Congress shall have the power to enforce by appropriate legislation the provisions of this article.” This would give enormous new powers to the Federal Government that now belong to the states in areas of law which include traditional differences of treatment “on account of sex”: marriage, property laws, divorce and alimony, child custody, adoptions, abortion, sex crimes, private and public schools, prison regulations, and insurance.
There is virtually no limit to the number and kind of lawsuits that ERA will spawn. To use the law to eliminate the innate differences between male and female is as absurd as using the law to eliminate the rising and setting of the sun. It is impossible.
For the benefit of Illinois families, the Illinois Family Institute strongly urges a vote NO on SJRCA 75.
Kathy Valente is Illinois Family Institute's Director of Operations.