28 March 2007

Why are wimmenfolk so hysterical about rights?

Who would have thought that the statements below would be so controversial, so radical, that conservative groups still fight against them:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
The Equal Rights Amendment, a holdover from the 1970's, has apparently been given new life. It's a relatively shameful fact that the amendment wasn't ratified by enough states back when it was passed through both houses of Congress, but take a look at the map -- those who didn't pass the ERA in red, and you shouldn't be terribly surprised:


The opponents to women's equal rights are mainly composed of the old Confederacy and one of the two states that refused to recognize the Martin Luther King holiday (Arizona). Jesus, even Texas passed the ERA. I don't think I need to return to my old saw yet again, but man it is tempting.

Understandably, Phyllis Schlafly the matron saint of "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen" (who can't seem to follow her own advice) opines against gender equality. Her proto-fascist "Eagle Forum" (reminder: I don't provide links to fascist, racist, or otherwise retrograde organizations unless I absolutely have to) gives "Ten Cases That Prove" why the ERA would be a disaster. Nearly all of the reasons given involve anti-abortion or homophobic rhetoric:

"Heterosexual-only marriage is currently the law in all fifty states and was the purpose for the federal Defense of Marriage Act (28 U.S.C. § 1738C). But ERA would have prohibited such sex-based limitations on marriage."

As is usually the case, the reasoning is suspect. How does giving women equal rights with men lead to homosexual marriage? Is there something I'm missing here? What in fact would two gay men, for instance, have to gain in their case by the passing of the ERA? Is Schlafly simply stupid, or is it once again the tactic of the Right to act intentionally stupid and misstate their case in order to scare people? A mystery for the ages...

2 comments:

Momentary Academic said...

I don't want to marry a career man. How about that Phyllis? Huh? :)

Reya Mellicker said...

Give us an inch, we'll take a mile! I guess that's the rationale ... who knows?

It hasn't been that long that we've even had the vote, and I remember distinctly how important it was to not wear a bra, or makeup, and to stop shaving my legs as a symbol of my refusal to sell out to the patriarchal macho pig establishment.

Sheesh. I hated those years. I love wearing makeup, bras, and shaving my legs. But you couldn't do it in the 70's without getting the evil eye from die-hard feminists, like my mother for instance.

I'm surprised and pleased to see the ERA coming back to life. I wonder if it will pass this time?