You wanna know why I’ve never voted for a Republican? Simple.
The Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution was one of the most universally welcomed pieces of congressional legislation of the entire 20th Century. The vast majority of major newspapers endorsed it. The news magazines endorsed it. An overwhelming majority of Americans expressed support for it in opinion polls. President Richard Nixon, for chrissakes, endorsed it.
In October 1971 the House of Representatives approved the amendment by a vote of 354-24. Five months later, the Senate approved it, 84-8. BTW: The Senate bill for passage was drafted by Indiana’s own Birch Bayh. The 92nd Congress’s actions sent the ERA to the states for ratification. To become a part of the Constitution, the ERA would need to be ratified by 38 states (three-fourths of the fifty). Within a year, 30 states had ratified.
But in that year’s time, a prominent Illinois Republican activist named Phyllis Schlafly had initiated a nationwide campaign to discredit the ERA. Schlafly and her minions circulated horror stories about how men and women would be forced to use the same public toilets, that women would be drafted into combat, and even that mothers granted custody in divorce cases might lose their children. Women would be barred from staying home to keep house. They’d be compelled to go out and work in humiliating, back-breaking jobs. Whatever housewives were left would be unable to receive alimony if they divorced. The common theme: women, rather than being freed by the ERA, would be crushed by it. Schlafly’s propaganda worked.
Phyllis Schlafly, Republican
[Associated Press photo]
Beginning in March 1973, five states that had ratified by huge majorities rescinded their ratifications. Meanwhile, five other states ratified, albeit over a three-year period. By that time, the legal window for ratification was rapidly closing. The snowball rolling down the mountainside had been stopped in its tracks by 1980 when the Republicans met in Detroit for their National Convention. The assembly that nominated Ronald Reagan for president also voted to renege on its support for the ERA that year. Saint Ronald himself, despite having supported the idea of the ERA as California’s governor little more than a decade earlier, spoke forcefully against the amendment. The amendment was dead.
It remains dead to this day.
It died because the Republicans killed it.
It has seemed to me my entire voting life that any party that would deny equal protection under the law to fifty percent of its population is not worthy of my vote. Accordingly, I have never voted for a Republican.
You may be interested in knowing the precise language of this crushing, tyrannical, woman-destroying law. Here it is:
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.
Aren’t we lucky the Republicans have saved us from the cruelty of it all?