Thursday, March 29, 2007

Time To Pass the Equal Rights Amendment

It seems like just the other day I was saying that recent proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution weren't worth the powder to blown themselves up with.

Geez! It was just the other day.
These conservative agenda-driven amendments have included bans on American flag burning and same -sex marriage, authorizing school prayer and the right to use the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, and that moldy oldie -- making English the "official" language.

Mercifully, all have crashed and burned in Congress before they could even be sent down to the states to begin the ratification process.
The far more deserving Equal Rights Amendment zipped through Congress in 1972 but fell three states short of the required approval by 38 state legislatures.

Now Senate and House Democrats have reintroduced the measure and vow to bring it to a vote by the end of the current session.

Said Senator Barbara Boxer of California:
"Elections have consequences, and isn't it true those consequences are good right now? We are turning this country around, bit by bit, to put it in a more progressive direction."
In my view, the ERA isn't so much progressive than commonsensical.

Women were granted the right to vote with ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, but nowhere has it been codified that they also have equal rights, which of course they often do not. Hence the unambiguous language in the ERA:
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
What may be commonsensical for you and I is, of course, anathema for people who believe that anything liberals believe in is baaaad. And that an Equal Rights Amendment will open the door to a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, if not an armed takeover by radical lesbians. Then there are the folks with rose-colored glasses who believe that there have been so many societal advances for women that an ERA isn't necessary anymore.

As Shakespeare's Sister notes:
"Of course, the usual suspects are reemerging to fight it, just like they did last time: In the 1970s, [Phyllis] Schlafly and others argued that the ERA would lead to women being drafted by the military and to public unisex bathrooms. Today, she warns lawmakers that its passage would compel courts to approve same-sex marriages and deny Social Security benefits for housewives and widows. The real issue buried in all that nonsense is, of course, same-sex marriages. Other opponents are all fidgety because courts in two states have ruled that equal-rights amendments in state constitutions justify state funding for abortion.

"Yeah, who knows what will happen when we finally recognize women as equals? Maybe frogs will fall from the fucking sky!"
Well, it's long past time to find out.

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