SPRINGFIELD - Illinois state senators that depend on prolife supporters to get them re-elected aren't too eager to talk about why they switched votes on the Equal Rights Amendment this week in Springfield. Illinois has long been the site of bloody battles over the ERA - even during the years when radical feminists dumped pig's blood on the Capitol Rotunda's floor.
During those battles, then-Illinois based Phyllis Schlafly led the battled to protect women from feminists' radical positions on abortion, traditional marriage and gender-fading culture switches. Schlafly went on to build a national pro-family movement and successfully hold off the ERA from being amended to the U.S. Constitution within the Constitution's own allotted time.
Schlafly's decades-long effort was dishonored Wednesday when Senate Republicans made an about face on the vote and added unneeded support to the Democrat Senate's already acquired 3/5th vote. Schlafly remained active in the national Republican Party working to preserve the party's prolife platform and anti-ERA stand until weeks before her death last year.
"Those senators that voted for the ERA this week spit on Phyllis Schlafly's memory," Illinois Family Action's executive director David E. Smith said he told Republican Senate Leader Bill Brady Thursday. "Senator Brady said that we shouldn't be upset with those that are 'with us' 99% of the time, but I told him their votes were unacceptable."
Smith, along with five other Illinois prolife leaders, declared Friday their groups would not endorse in the fall any lawmakers that voted for the ERA. That shot across the bow was aimed at affecting any Republican in the Illinois House that was mulling over switching positions in their chambers upcoming vote on the ERA.
Illinois Review was successful in getting only one GOP state senator to explain her vote - Morris State Senator Sue Rezin.
Rezin voted "present" on the ERA in 2014, but spoke during the floor debate about how the ERA vote was being used as a distraction from the failed leadership of Gov. Quinn, the terrible budget situation Illinois was in, and the high unemployment rate for women in the state. That year, then-GOP senators Kirk Dillard and Christine Radogno were the only two voting "yes" on the ERA.
“It’s shocking to know there is no federal constitutional provision that guarantees equality on the basis of sex. Equal rights under the law should never be denied simply because one is female," Rezin said in a statement to Illinois Review.
"This was an important step forward in solidifying that women will be constitutionally protected from discrimination. As a mother, who has two daughters in the workforce, I want equal rights for women. And, as a female in Senate leadership who is trying to mentor the next generation, when I speak to females, I want to be seen as someone who supports equal rights for all.”
Senator Kyle McCarter told Illinois Review he was off the floor during the vote, and would have voted "No" as he did in 2014.