The Equal Rights Amendment — Then and Now

Four decades ago, the Illinois House refused to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

The drama was high with proponents pouring animal blood outside House Speaker George Ryan’s door.

This ERA button says, “Ratify ERA in 1975.”

Equally intense, but less destructive of public property, opponents were mobilized by Alton’s Phyllis Schlafly under the banner “Stop ERA.”

Having read both the Equal Rights section in the Illinois Constitution, passed without opposition in 1970, and the Federal version, I could not see a difference.

Having sent a survey to every household in my five-county State Representative district which came back about 58% in favor, I voted in favor.

After all, I reasoned, my job title was “representative.”

Since the 1970’s, the Illinois language has not had controversial results.

“STOP ERA” the most common button red.

Since then, however, I have figured out the difference between the two measures.

It has nothing to do with the texts.

It has to do with the enforcement mechanism.

While our state courts have not gone berserk, the Federal courts, in my opinion, have strayed from the Constitutional Fathers’ intent too often.

Based on Federal judge’s creativeness, I have changed my mind about the potential effects of including the ERA in the Federal Constitution.

Had it been brought up while I was in the Illinois House during the 19909’s I would have opposed passage.


The Equal Rights Amendment — Then and Now — 6 Comments

  1. Yes Cal. It’s all about enforcement. It might be over-enforced. You don’t want rights to get too equal.

  2. “When I originally enforced it, I didn’t think it would be enforced, but not that it might be enforced, I’m opposed.”

  3. Corrected:

    “When I originally voted for it, I didn’t think it would be enforced, but now that it might be enforced, I’m opposed.”

  4. Alabama? Endorsed is different than enforced. Where are you getting your quotes from?

  5. Heaven forbid anyone besides white men gain access to equality.

  6. We need to have a discussion about a new ERA. An Education ERA for men.

    A male-only caucus in the U.S. Congress and the Illinois Legislature should demand equality for men. Men are under-represented in colleges and Universities in the U.S. White men, Hispanic men and Black men are significantly less percent represented in enrollment compared to White women, Hispanic women and Black women. Something needs to be done to get balance in enrollment of men vs women in proportion to men/women percentages in the overall percent of population of the U.S.

    The new ERA for men would require that, just as in diversity quotas and respective actions used by our Institutions of higher learning, that they actively pursue enrollment balance to have percent of men enrolled equal in percent to male population of the U.S. A new U.S. government agency, supported by Democrats and liberals, would monitor all colleges and universities to assure that men are fairly represented in enrollments in proportion to their population in the U.S.

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