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Fri Jun 1, 2018, 01:57 AM

The Equal Rights Amendment needs to be rewritten before it's ratified

We recently heard the good news that the Equal Rights Amendment, which is this:

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.


just received its 37th ratification from the great State of Illinois.

In 1972, equality of sexual orientation wasn't on our legislative radar. If anything, the opposite was true - it was more than fine to discriminate on the basis of orientation. We've grown up since then, and the ERA should have language reflecting that added to it.

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Equal Rights Amendment needs to be rewritten before it's ratified (Original post)
jmowreader Jun 2018 OP
msongs Jun 2018 #1
spooky3 Jun 2018 #2
Tribalceltic Jun 2018 #3
dsc Jun 2018 #4
pnwmom Jun 2018 #5
Lee-Lee Jun 2018 #6
Orsino Jun 2018 #7
MuseRider Jun 2018 #8
gratuitous Jun 2018 #9
jmowreader Jun 2018 #10
gratuitous Jun 2018 #12
meow2u3 Jun 2018 #11

Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 01:59 AM

1. any changes require approval by all the states already voting to approve nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 04:40 AM

2. And by the Congress, which has to write the language

Then approve it.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 05:05 AM

3. A good replacement might be...

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 06:16 AM

4. A couple of things

first a rewrite is impossible in this environment. Congress would have to propose then states would have to reratify. Two, under current jurisprudence in some appellate districts discrimination against LGBT is being considered a form of sex discrimination. I do have concerns about SCOTUS, especially if a liberal retires before one of those cases make it there, but the state of the case law now is looking pretty good.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 06:29 AM

5. That would mean starting over completely. No, thanks.

None of the ratifications we already have would count if we changed the wording now.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 06:46 AM

6. Don't throw away your work for good in the quest for perfect

 

A rewrite would be starting over from zero.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 07:07 AM

7. We're not gonna get universal healthcare or basic income out of it, either.

Not a reason to start over.

But what you suggest would be a fine next Amendment.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 08:34 AM

8. We should start a new one

and have it ready for the day we are a majority so it can pass. Surely this is already in the works. I do not know, right now our LGBT group is completely busy trying to fight the RW from taking back all our progress and after over 10 years of hard won forward movement we just lost a big one tagged onto a last minute bill.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 08:53 AM

9. Actually, that very subject came up in the 1970s

It was used as an argument against the ERA, that the ambiguity of the language might extend the rights and protections of the law to homosexuals, as if they could be citizens in full like normal heterosexual people.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #9)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 11:47 AM

10. This isn't the 1970s

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201509/when-homosexuality-stopped-being-mental-disorder

Until 1973, the American Psychological Association's DSM manual (the book that lists all the "approved" mental illnesses) listed "homosexuality" as a mental disorder. At that year's convention they held a vote as to whether they believed homosexuality was a mental disorder...3,810 said it was (5,854 said it was not) so "homosexuality" became "sexual orientation disturbance." It took until 1987 for being gay to stop being "mentally ill."

It took the World Health Organization until 1992 to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases manual...it was changed to "ego-dystonic sexual orientation." (EDSO sufferers wish their orientation were different than it is because of "associated psychological and behavioral disorders."

So...in the time when the ERA was being debated, gay people were both insane and physically sick - at least in the eyes of the medical profession. That, fortunately, is no longer the case.

Debating about whether we'd need to go through the whole ratification process again is an academic exercise at best; the ERA was one of nine amendments that carried a sunset clause. (Eight of them were ratified.) Since it didn't cross the 37-state threshold by then, we'll have to go all the way back to the beginning to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 12:14 PM

12. My point, and apparently I made it badly

The ambiguity of the present language of the ERA was used against adopting the ERA because someone might use that language to argue that it extended full rights and legal protections to gay people. This played to the prejudices of the public in the 1970s, both before and after 1973. That same argument can now be employed as a reason for ratifying an Equal Rights Amendment without changing the language of the 1923 original.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2018, 11:58 AM

11. That would require a separate constitutional amendment

The ERA needs to be passed now because it'll make common discriminatory tactics used against women not only illegal, but also unconstitutional. Conservative legislators won't be able to roll back women's rights--or even men's rights, for that matter once the ERA goes into effect.

Now is not the time to scrap the ERA completely and launch a do-over because sexual orientation wasn't mentioned; it'll end up putting women back in chains.

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