ERA for LEGISLATORS and those who may be wary
To those who have cosponsored or voted for the ERA bills, we cannot say how much we appreciate your stand on equality for all in America. For those who remain wary, we understand that and hope that you will read on.
“Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Written in 1943 and voted out in 1972 by Congress for 38 states to ratify, the Equal Rights Amendment causes no cost nor problem for the State of Florida (Staff Analysis, 2003 & 2008), and benefits everyone as well as Florida’s economy.
The Equal Rights Amendment is just about enforcing the illegality of discrimination based on gender. That’s the “gender” that used to be called “sex”. In 1972, when ERA was written in 1943, sex was a noun not a verb, it was about the sex you ARE, not the sex you do. Gender is perhaps more appropriate to lingo of current times, but to change the wording now would delay things another 50 years, give or take. We are naturally impatient for Honorable Mention in the Constitution. Men are aching to get a fair decision at the child custody table, the draft, immigration and consensual sex adjudications. We need an ERA in the US Constitution.
Only thing is, men generally do not think of those injustices as discrimination based on gender. So that may explain why National Womens Law Center’s 2008 survey showed that 46% of men do not recognize gender discrimination against either gender when they see it. They don’t see it? Women cannot fathom that, as we are more routinely and more seriously discriminated against. Both genders experience it. One may see it, the other may not.
If you do not see a problem, it doesn’t exist for you, and you probably don’t feel compelled to do much about it. Is that a problem?
Once upon a time, slavery was the norm. Was that a problem?
Once upon a time, only all women were denied the vote, couldn’t own property, and were considered legal possessions of men. Was that a problem? (That’s why the 14th Amendment of 1868 does not include women as the “all persons” it claims to have equal rights, and why it does not stand up for women’s equal rights today). That’s why we have to have the ERA in the US Constitution in order to guarantee women their birthright as equal humans. That we don’t is a blight on the American conscience.
These were such a problem, that the Constitution required amending change. Not that all the problems were solved. At least people had grounds to bring legal suit then. Since the Constitution does not now illuminate the problem of sex discrimination, it tacitly remains legal to discriminate despite laws, the 14th Amendment, and various state constitutions, including Florida’s which was left in question in 2001 and 2004.
Even today, the contract between America and its peoplethe Constitution--does not mention the female gender anywhere. It does mention males and masculine pronouns throughout, BUT the Constitution does not currently explicitly ban gender discrimination against men either. Does that create problems? You bet. And, for you, as well.
When change is in the air, it’s sometimes hard to see it as opportunity. Hard sometimes not to react reflexively against it, especially if the change threatens our sense of earned power, or loss of control. I had one fundamentalist preacher-friend tell me he had no problem with ensuring equal pay for equal work for the genders. But he didn’t want “men turned into women.”
While gender discrimination is not always overt, we believe it creates injustice, prejudices, and unhealthily adversarial relations between people just because their anatomies differ. The cruelty lies in the fact that cannot be changed, and it paints one group of people in a given situation with a lesser, or second-class status through no fault of their own, coloring their whole lives unduly.
One of Florida’s finest legislators once responded to our query, “You wouldn’t be against equality for all, would you?” by saying, “I’d have to think about that.” Then he repeated himself. Another, when asked his position on the ERA, replied “Why would we clutter up the Constitution with something like that?” Others won’t tell us their objections to the ERA and deny us office appointments. One Speaker, with cameras rolling, promised us an appointment after we had tried for a year, but refused to honor that promise, ever. The Florida House continues to refuse to hold hearings on the ERA bill, year in and year out, thus stalling it in the Senate, too. ERA will have the votes. So far in the House, our legislators and the public has been denied a fair hearing on the ERA. Will you please help change that? No other states with filed ERA bills experience similar restrictions to public information exchanges.
We believe that Florida’s officials bear an obligation to support the intent of the Constitution and its Preamble to hold all people equal and to ensure equal treatment across the State. Support for the ERA is inherent in that, we believe in our hearts. We believe that our legislators should believe in and act upon America’s golden promise of Equality for ALL, or should step down from office.
Will you come with us on this journey? Or will you continue to deny us even appointments to hear your reasoning? Will you on your own pursue the information so that the Equal Rights Amendment’s intent is clear? Or will you continue to stay the course against equality for all regardless of gender? Will you consider the facts…? Your constituents await your decision.
Seriously, there are 295,000 ERA supporters in 300 major organizations and 88% of the voters who were randomly surveyed (survey online at www.RatifyERAflorida.net) think the ERA should be in the Constitution. 72% believe incorrectly that it already is. Seven Florida newspapers have, too. And more. So, please consider the following when deciding about the ERA bill. We appreciate your serious consideration of the ERA in 2009.
About the Equal Rights Amendment:
Clearly Florida voters want Florida ratified as one of only 3 more states needed to pass ERA.
49 past Florida bill Co-sponsors want the ERA ratified by Florida.
Thirty-five other States have already vetted and voted for it; are waiting for us so their mandate is carried out.
All nations since WWII have ERA language in their charters or constitutions.
Divorcing men want fair child custody, for example.
Working Families need ERA badly for the average $4205/a it would bring in.
ERA is not about same-sex or abortions, and NOT dead,
ERA is a bill that cannot be amended. It is what it says it is, equality for all regardless of gender.
THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT BILL REQUIRES NO FUNDING.
Please find it in your heart to co-sponsor and vote for the Equal Rights Amendment.
You are warmly invited to peruse the rest of the information at www.2PassERA.org and to write us with any questions at SandyO@passera.org.