By Nancy Thorner & Elizabeth Clarke -
Of importance is knowing the history of the Equal Rights Amendment, yet unfinished business for the Constitution, as a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ERA was written by suffragist leader Alice Paul in 1923 as the next step after the woman's right to vote was guaranteed by the 19th Amendment in 1920. Between 1923 and 1972 the ERA was introduced into every Congress, when it finally passed and was sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit in the ERA's proposing clause was extended by Congress for three years to June 30, 1982. But even with the controversial extension of an additional three years, only 35 states had ratified ERA by the 1982 deadline, three statesshort of the 38 required to add to the Constitution (States that that did not ratify the ERA amendment back in 1982 were: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.).
Should Illinois and two other states ratify the amendment to net the required 38 states, its constitutionality is in question. Receiving a death blow back in 1982 when ERA could only muster the votes of 35 states despite the problematic extension, resurrecting the amendment would call for Congress to start the process all over again.
A conservative icon, Phyllis Schlafly, has been on hand since the ERA amendment was first introduced in the Illinois Capitol in 1972. As related in an Illinois Review article on Thursday, May 22, the day the Equal Rights Amendment finally passed the Illinois Senate, forty-two years later it took two Republicans to provide the 39 votes required to pass ERA despite the Senate Democrat's super-majority. Providing the two votes were Minority Leader Christine Radogno and State Senator Kirk Dillard.
With a 39-11 vote, the Illinois Senate voted by more than the necessary three-fifths margin of elected senators, as required by state law, to ratify ERA. If it moves forward in the state House, Illinois will become the 36th state to ratify the ERA.
Ratification is not just a hugely important symbolic step but a move to establish women’s rights as a bedrock principle in the Constitution. From equal pay to equal access to health care, freedom from gender-based discrimination should be the law of the land and not subject to political whims. Equal rights are not a fad; they’re in the fabric of our nation, and the ERA confirms that.
Senator Stearn's statement is a bogus claim being kept alive by feminists and others. There is already equal pay for men and women who work at the identical job with the same number of hours! In a recent May 22, 2014 Heritage Foundation report experts Rachel Grezler and James Sherk highlight the success of free enterprise in shrinking the gender pay gap. Their new report shows how differences in pay reflect not systematic bias, as liberals claim, but different choices made by individual men and women.
On May 23, a subsequent article was published at Illinois Review that suggested the ERA revival was a back door to legalizing same sex marriage nationwide. Phyllis Schlafly was quoted with a simple argument which seems somewhat outdated given the way the time-tested and approved definition of marriage is presently being redefined.
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.
Few realize that the Equal Rights Amendment approved by the Illinois Senate of Friday, May 23, and which the House will shortly take up, is the same amendment that failed to garner the required votes of 38 states back in 1982.
Given the number of Democratic women in the Senate who voted for the ERA amendment, with the lone Republican Minority Leader Christine Radogno, were they all of mistaken persuasion that ERA only stands for women's rights. Shame also on Republican State Senator Kirk Dillard for not understanding that ERA also affects men in adverse ways.
This brochure, "ERA -- Do You Know What It Means?", was originally written and published in the 1970’s by the National Council of Catholic Women. It is still accurate today. Instead of giving rights to woman (ERA invalidates all state and federal laws which impose different obligations on men and women.), ERA would harm woman in multiple ways. Sixteen areas of harm to women are presented in this brochure.
Elizabeth Clarke, a long-time friend of Phyllis Schlafly, fought the good fight with Phyllis back in 1972. Following is what Elizabeth shared with me.
The IL. House is going to vote on a Constitutional amendment soon. Constitutional amendments are permanent. They are the supreme law of the country, so should be researched, thought about and considered, "do I really want to live under a completely sex blind system? Might there be some places men need privacy from women? Or women needing places where men cannot go?"
The proposed Equal Rights Amendment was researched by Yale College Law professor Thomas Emerson. His conclusion is that "the amendment MUST BE APPLIED COMPREHENSIVELY AND WITHOUT EXCEPTION".
For example, I was at the mall walking along when a good looking young man came out of a store. He was furious! I went into the store to ask what had happened? The store had a big "help wanted" sign in its window. It was a maternity shop. The owner said the young man wanted the advertised job. But she refused him. She said her customers would not want him in the dressing room with them as they tried on maternity clothes, or helping them fasten corsets so she would not hire him.
If ERA were the law of the land she would HAVE to hire him. Many people tell me, "Oh, but there would be exceptions for those situations". NO THERE WOULD NOT.
Do we really want such an inflexible law? Do we really want all sports teams required to try out women or men on women's teams? Do we really want patients in hospitals assigned to rooms on the basis of their ailment without consideration of whether the roommates would be of the same sex?
Illinois liberal lawmakers showed their corruption and willingness to break Senate rules of procedure by rushing the ERA to a Senate floor vote. Normally the Senate rules require three separate days of 'reading a bill' during a Senate session before they bring it up for a vote. Rather than follow the rules, they rushed the bill to the floor, held a brief debate for such a monumental issue, and voted to pass the bill by 39 votes (with the help of Radogno and Dillard) with 11 voting against and 9 voting present or not voting, which equals a no vote. Some chose to protest the bill by refusing to vote.
As the bill is already in the house, there will likely be an effort to push quickly for a vote. Please contact your state representative immediately by both email and phone to urge them against this destructive amendment. Then reach out to all you know to encourage them to speak up. This bill will have tremendously destructive effects on women, their families and our society, and will also affect men.
Please also take a moment to thank your state senator if they voted against the bill by voting "no" "present," or "not voting." They deserve our thanks! Call the Capitol switchboard after 1 p.m. on Memorial Day at 217-782-2000 and ask to be connected with your own State Representative, urging a No vote on ERA.