ERA IS WIN-WIN! WHO COULD BE AGAINST EQUALITY FOR ALL AMERICANS?!
WHAT’S THE ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) ALL ABOUT, ANYWAY ?
And, WHY SHOULD I CARE ?
ERA is about protecting all people, male and female alike, from sex discrimination. Females especially are exposed to sex discrimination that’s more blatant, routine and hurtful, though males experience it too. More males than ever are filing workplace sex discrimination cases with EEOC. Click on ERA for Women; Moms for ERA; ERA for Men; ERA for the Economy; ERA and Religion; ERA for the Wary; ERA En Espanol; Facts for Legislators…and MORE at www.2PassERA.org.
The ERA simply reflects the fundamental moral American value of equality for ALL. Here’s the proud wording that would protect all people from abuse based on one’s gender.
“Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex [‘gender’ in today’s language].” This is the wording of the Equal Rights Amendment passed out after 30 years of debate in 1972 by Congress to the States for ratification by 38 of them.
Though all the votes were lined up, just 35 did ratify. Some legislators we counted on flipped their votes. Thus it barely missed passing by 3 states. Florida remains one.
Our task is to gain ratification of 3 more of any of the 15 states still unratified. You can find our USA map on HomePage of www.2PassERA.org. We are the Equal Rights Alliance Inc. which has spearheaded two identical ERA ratification bills through the Florida Legislature since 2003. We also help mentor Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Virginia, Illinois and Nevada, well-led states. Some of their legislators refer to our site for information to propel their own bills. Illinois and Missouri have been at it since the Federal ERA did not pass by 1982.
Each year the ERA bills have to get referred to committees, then the Speaker of the House has to agree to schedule it for hearings/votes in the committees. Each Speaker since 2003 has refused to hold hearings! But the Senate President has held hearings on two occasions, and ERA passed out of committees 8-3, bipartisan. But, since the Speaker refuses hearings in the House, the Senate cannot process the ERA through its waiting committees! Each year, for 10 years of bills, the House Republican leadership stops the ERA in its tracks.
That’s despite typically 49 bill bipartisan cosponsors, male and female alike. That’s despite 88% of citizens endorsing ERA, despite 300 000 supporters in 325 major organizations, 7 Florida newspapers, a legendary ERA Inc. Board, 4 pro bono national legal teams, 2991 very active Activists, 7 Regional Directors, and ERA Teams.
©2010 Lisa Oestreich
WE HAVE LAWS, THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION, AND THE 14TH AMENDMENT. WHY DO WE STILL NEED THE ERA?
Just having an Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution would deter much sex discrimination that is perpetrated now. But that’s not all…
Laws, the Florida constitution, and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution all have serious flaws that prevent them from protecting reliably against sex discrimination:
LAWS. One thing the ERA would do quickly is bolster all the laws already on the books. Without it, laws can be and are subject to being ignored. An example is the Equal Pay Act of 1964 which made paying either sex differently for the same job. It has routinely been ignored. That is the reason Florida women are paid only 72% of a man’s wage, on average, for the same job. The new Lilly Ledbetter Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act both need an ERA to bolster their intent. Title IX and Affirmative Action and other Laws are frequently “under review” by any Administration.
Incidentally, with an ERA sex discrimination cases would receive legal review by courts using “strict scrutiny”. Racial, religious and national origin cases already do. Because they ARE in the U.S. Constitution. Simply put, a case receiving review by strict scrutiny elevates the importance of the case, making it more winnable.
But, the question remains: WHY SHOULD AMERICANS BE FORCED TO GO TO COURT EACH TIME THEY ARE SUBJECTED TO SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, OR RAPE? WHY SHOULD ANYONE HAVE TO GO TO COURT JUST TO PROVE WHAT SHOULD BE THEIR BIRTHRIGHT—FREEDOM FROM SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION?! Officially raising objections to personal experiences of workplace discrimination typically the victim loses all her/his friends. And her/his job. Typically, the perpetrator, if male, gets promoted! All this applies to males as well as females.
FLORIDA CONSTITUTION. In 1998 some 63% of Floridians voted to revise the Florida constitution to include the words equal treatment for female and male alike. Twenty-two states now have their own constitutional ERA wording. We Floridians who worked on that were delighted, thinking that would provide at least a modicum of clout to equal treatment of the sexes. But, in two tests of that amendment, in 2001 a court case was decided against the plaintiffs; it was rubber-stamped in another one in 2004. (All due to a misplaced comma, it seems.) Those courts said, in essence, that women already have all the rights they are entitled to as found in the U.S. Constitution! In other words, only the right to vote. This, after ALL males were given the right to vote in America 50 years earlier! And women fought to get that after being jailed, hung, beaten and force-fed. That right for women is the ONLY right guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.
Not so incidentally, women and female pronouns are mentioned nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. It is geared to the males with male pronouns and nouns 39 times. That’s because, men of the time who created it viewed females, along with children and slaves, as “possessions of men” or chattel. And, so it still stands…Until there’s an ERA. Since the Constitution can be construed to be THE contract of the nation with its people, if one party to that contract is NOT mentioned, then we all know that that party has no guaranteed rights therein. ERA would fix that, to the relief of the Supreme Court Justices who seek clarity, they say.
THE 14TH AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. Though it looks as though it comes closest to protection from sex discrimination, it is actually a Male-Only amendment. Although it opens saying, “No state may deny any person, under its government, equal protection of the law”, Section 2 defines “persons” as “males” only. Thus it is a real stretch to use it to protect females. In fact, since then the 14th Amendment has frequently been used variously to support the rights of American corporations as “persons”! It has also been proposed to support the fetus as a “person”, too. Ironic?
Females in the United States are pointing to this cruel refusals of their birthrights to demand that they also get HONORABLE MENTION IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. Having to go to court on sex discrimination, case by case, is “Like getting the Emancipation Proclamation ‘one plantation at a time’”. Ridiculous. And cruel repression. Slavery and the woman’s suffrage demanded Constitutional Amendment. So does sex discrimination.
BUT HOW CAN THE ERA BE RESTARTED, DIDN’T IT “DIE” IN 1982?
Well, no. The Amendment itself has three sections. One section states the intent (above). Another assigns a two-year period before ERA is viable. A third section assigns the implementation of the intent to the U.S. Congress. These are what got voted on when approved in 1972.
An ancillary introductory clause contained a time limit. Originally it gave ERA seven years to be enacted. Nobody complained much, though not all amendments even have time limits, because they were certain that 38 states would vote for it rapidly. ERA gained 35 states’ ratifications in the first seven years. Congress voted to extend it to give ERA an additional three years to gain the remaining three. By 1982, it had not.
But, ERA did not die, nor did some states rescind their votes, as paid Special Interests would have you believe (amongst other “silly lies”, as one of Florida’s Republican senators calls them). Click the “ERA Rebuts Lies” button at our site to see the lengths to which silly extremists go to try to kill the ERA. Laughable if they weren’t so cruel to folks, families and children values and to the economy. They create the cynical smoke screens that hide the true drive behind Florida legislative leadership’s refusal to hear or vote for EQUAL TREATMENT for their constituents—needless dread of equal pay for equal work for women. Mean and self-serving in this time when working families now often headed by women/moms paid only 72 cents on the dollar for the same job the now-jobless father once held, figuratively. Florida’s House Leadership does not view this as being anti-Family Values yet. They do not yet “see” sex discrimination. We hope they will, once they realize that ERA benefits males and the economy as well as women, and the country as a whole.
The D.C.-based Institute for Women’s Policy and Research, run by the respected economist Dr. Heidi Hartman, recently performed their frequent comparison of the United States vis a vis the way each treats its women. Florida received DISHONORABLE MENTION! TIME magazine just listed the reasons that Floridians are leaving Florida in record numbers: jobs, homes, and “Florida’s legislative leaders.” Florida tourists and newcomers are uniquely shocked to find that Florida is one of the few states that has not passed the ERA. “Backward”, “medieval”, “Neanderthal politicians”, are some of their outbursts!
Florida is in gridlock. Our previous Speaker of the House was dragged to court for corruption. Last year our legislature past only about 4% of the bills, some crucial. Year before it was about 12%. Past Speaker Marco Rubio (and now U.S. Senate candidate) sent his beefy underling out to embarrass us before his crowded waiting room saying why Rubio would never meet with us despite a televised promise: “Your ERA bill is ‘going nowhere’, Sandy”-- We have MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO.” Like taking days to harangue about the length of boys’ athletic shorts! and how (hee hee) terrible it is that some men hang replicas of bull’s testicles from the backs of Floridians’ pickup trucks?! (This is not a joke. )
So, until the Florida legislature untangles itself from its Special Interests and starts focusing on the interests of the average, decent Floridian, the ERA will continue to struggle toward justice for all and reducing male-female adversity. Gaining slowly, unfunded, your Alliance Forges ON for equality with the thousands of marvelous proponents innovating ways to get ERA out there despite papers who refuse to give its events or progress any ink or to endorse it (e.g., the St. Petersburg TIMES), giving speeches, rallies, fundraisers. The Alliance thanks them ALL, for sacrificing their time for equal treatment we’ve never had before, for their children, theirs, theirs and theirs.
Your all-volunteer Alliance works endlessly 18/7 since 2001, mobilizing, organizing, publicizing, fundraising. We do this For Free for YOU, your children, theirs, theirs, and theirs, so that no American, male or female, should ever again live as second-class citizen and without full self-determination. Sandy Oestreich is our unsalaried lobbyist, Founder and President of the Alliance. See “Who We Are” button at our site, www.2PassERA.org.
Take a tour of the Equal Rights Amendment at our site, www.2PassERA.org. You’ll find videos, maps of the Unratified states, and an independently commissioned survey, Who We Are, our blog sizzling with the Latest on our ERA bills, Who’s cosponsored today, and What YOU Can Do to Help, and MORE! Start by getting your organization’s president to sign our ERA Resolution posted there or writing a Letter to the Editor or sending Thank You postcards to your own legislator after finding him/her on our listing of bill cosponsors, etc. We have time-tested speeches ready-made. We already have a cadre of ERA activists and a Regional Director in your own area to help you with what you might like to do to propel the ERA.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says that, “All other nations since WWII now have ERA language”. Not America??!! We mean it when we tell the Florida Legislature that, “You’ve seen us in the capitol hallways and in your offices. You’ll keep seeing us there, whether in a wheelchair and on oxygen, for WE WILL DO THIS. ABSOLUTELY.
ERA is nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsexist, single-issue, and welcomes all who wish to promote the ERA’s progress into the U.S. Constitution. Our job is for YOU, for FREE. Alliance subsists on small donations and our many garden and garage sales every year. No dues, with only cyber-meetings, no heavy lifting, no Big Bosses, plenty of autonomy—we understand people’s lives. Equal Rights Alliance is growing boundlessly, unlike most organizations. We have ballooning operating/office costs. It costs us to relocate from our homes during the 2 month Legislative Session to lobby FREE for you and yours, your justice. Membership is attained by presidents’ or chairs’ signatures. Just click on and download the ERA Resolution at top of our site’s page. Return it to address at the bottom. Individuals may ask to become members of ERA by mailing a one-time donation of $15 to ERA, PO Box 59023, St. Petersburg, FL 33708. Make it out to ERA Education Inc. (501(c)3) if you opt for a tax deduction. And, WELCOME ABOARD THE ERA, space for ALL. Justice for ALL.
If you like what you’ve heard, please pitch in whatever you can. It all goes directly to unsalaried ERA work. Write us at www.PassERA.org, and stay tuned to our rapidly changing site, www.2PassERA.org. We’d really like to hear from you, to know more about you, and to gain your own input.
! THANKS FOR COMING TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT US !
Sandy, the Board and Staff of Equal Rights Alliance Inc.,