The progressive radicals have spent half a century pushing the idea of an “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution. Despite the deadline having long since expired for the ratification of this amendment, some folks still believe that it can be resurrected. The swamp-dwelling leftists who have taken control in Virginia are working toward that goal even now.
The survival of this long-dormant proposed federal amendment is likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court at some point in the not-too-distant future. Regardless of what happens at the federal level, liberals across the country are also working in their respective states to add an ERA to their state constitutions.
Here in Idaho, Democrat State Representative Melissa Wintrow (pictured above) has proposed an ERA for the Idaho State Constitution. Known as House Joint Resolution 003, her proposal would add the following language to Article 1 of the State Constitution.
SECTION 24. SEX EQUALITY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES ENFORCEMENT POWER OF THE LEGISLATURE. Equality of rights and responsibilities under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex. The legislature shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this section.
Advocates of the ERA claim that it will promote or even ensure equality, but the reality is something far different. The long-term impacts of passing the ERA are somewhat difficult to predict because how the state legislature would choose to exercise its “power to enforce” the ERA’s provisions would undoubtedly change and grow over time. The courts too would have opportunities to interpret the amendment and to determine its application to individual liberty and property rights.
Fundamentally, the ERA is at odds with the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states in part:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The 14th Amendment refers to “persons” and “citizens of the United States.” It makes no distinction between men and women because they already have equal rights under the law. What the ERA proposes is not equality under the law, but the imposition of state force to impose a façade of equality on private businesses and other market entities. In other words, the ERA would actually create the pretext for depriving people of their liberty and property in the name of enforcing equality.
The following are 10 possible results of adding an ERA to the Constitution. While some may be specific to the state or federal level, most could apply in either case.
- The elevation of sex equality to a Constitutional right would make it equal to other constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It is therefore possible that religious doctrines that include unique or defined gender roles could face legal persecution under the ERA. Even basic matters of free speech, such as addressing an individual as “Sir” or “Ma’am” could be considered a violation of this newly created right.
- There is an open question of how enforcing equal rights between the sexes would square with the left’s new paradigm of no longer requiring individuals to identify as either men or women. It is quite possible that the ERA would be interpreted as requiring enforced equality among all 63 genders (or however many more may be claimed to exist over the next year, decade, and century.)
- The passage of the ERA could lead to the banning of sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, fitting rooms, and other such facilities. Private businesses that wished to cater to their customers’ preference for such accommodations could be legally barred from providing them.
- Sports teams too could see their traditional organizations uprooted as men’s and women’s sports were forcibly integrated. While this would not serve the interests of players, advertisers, or spectators, the ERA leaves no room for acknowledging any differences between men and women.
- Along similar lines, education facilities could be forced to offer only co-ed housing facilities and to discontinue scholarships, clubs, or other programs targeting men or women specifically.
- One very likely impact of the ERA would be the passage and enforcement of additional laws regulating the wages offered by businesses to their employees. Much like the minimum wage, laws mandating “equal pay” serve to violate freedom of contract and to keep people out of the market.
- We could also see laws mandating that businesses hire an equal number of men and women or have an equal number of men and women on their corporate boards. Conceivably, this rationale could be expanded to include private clubs and even religious organizations.
- At its core, the ERA has always been about expanding access to abortion, and states that have already adopted it (such as New Mexico and Connecticut) have used it as a pretext for overturning restrictions on abortion and for mandating taxpayer funding of elective Medicaid abortions. There is good reason to believe that the passage of the ERA would open the door to taxpayer-funded abortions in Idaho as well.
- The ERA has the potential to require the housing of inmates in co-ed facilities. When we consider the violence that is already endemic to this country’s jails and prisons, this prospect represents a significant increase in the likelihood that individuals will be abused, injured, or killed while incarcerated.
- Under current law, women are exempted from being subject to the military draft. While I would argue that everyone should be exempted from the draft under the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, the ERA would likely remove the exemption from tens of millions of American women.
Are these outcomes consistent with your goals? Is this the direction you want for your state and country? Do you want to see people arrested and jailed for violating what will be the “new normal” under the ERA?
Idaho is under assault from the radical left like never before. If we don’t fight back, we will lose our state and never get it back. Please don’t let us lose our state. Please help us Keep Idaho Free!