I am obviously not an innocent bystander to the ERA debate, but I am impressed by how few people know about it.

Yesterday, I met a professor who, in giving us a brief biography, included the fact that she argued for “the original Equal Rights Amendment, which most of you have probably never heard of”. I looked around & saw only blank faces. “The one that still hasn’t been ratified,” I wanted to shout, “the one that would directly affect 51% of the people in this room!” I wanted to turn to the professor and thank her, on behalf of all the women who don’t know that she deserves it; and all the men who don’t, either.

Today in a mock class, we read a case which made frequent references to the Amendments. Not having my handy pocket Constitution available (it was given to me later in the day by the Federalist Society), I relied on Wikipedia’s “List of amendments to the United States Constitution” (something I will not resort to in the future…). It included a list of unratified proposed amendments. Including the ERA, lonely among amendments to protect slavery and prohibit titles of nobility.

And so today, I have occasion to lament the unratified status of the ERA. It would be nice even if just the states that ratified it had to abide by it. Can you imagine what California might look like if it had an ERA? Proposition 80 would be a non-issue for one thing.


  1. John

    The LDS church, which rarely gets involved in political battles in a big way, was instrumental in defeating ERA ratification in the smaller Western states with lots of Mormons. It’s one reason why I’m angry at their involvement in pushing Prop 8. It’s also one reason why I’m not Mormon anymore–the Church does not stand for social progress. It’s kind of evil that way.

  2. I only learned about the ERA a couple of years ago. It was instrumental in my decision to leave the LDS church. I have cited it as one of the issues that caused me to cast a critical eye on church history, but people respond the same way – blank looks. I explain and then hear a dull, “Oh.” Nothing further. Certainly not the teeth-gnashing and battle cry I would expect and hope for, that I experienced myself.

  3. I figure that anyone or any institution that doesn’t want it in writing that I am equal to the other gender does not have my best interests in mind. I don’t care how much they pat me on the head and say, “There, there. We all know you are equal, so we don’t really need it written down.” Or if they insist that “it’s all covered” in other laws.

    All that is patriarchal, condescending BS from start to finish. I want it in the constitution that I am equal.

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