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This week, Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez introduced S.J.RES.10: "A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women."

In case you missed it, that's the Equal Rights Amendment—the utterly simple, overwhelmingly popular proposition that the Constitution should guarantee:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
It is a completely uncontroversial amendment. In a poll conducted for Daily Kos in 2012, Public Policy Polling found that 91 percent of respondents believe "the Constitution should guarantee equal rights for men and women." You'd be hard-pressed, in fact, to find legislation with greater support. And yet, every congressional session, a handful of Democrats half-heartedly reintroduce it, where it is promptly sent off to committee to once again die a quiet death.

So it's not surprising that Sen. Menendez and his 10 fellow cosponsors once again introduced this bill with as little fanfare as possible. No big news conference; no senators making the rounds on television advocating for its passage; not even a Twitter campaign from Senate Democrats. Nothing but a press release from Menendez's office. Almost as if he and his cosponsors are trying to keep it a secret.

And where are the rest of the Democrats? Kudos to Sens. Mark Begich, Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, Ben Cardin, Tom Harkin, Mazie Hirono, Frank Lautenberg, Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow, and Elizabeth Warren—but what about the rest of them? What about the rest of the record-setting number of women whom Democrats sent to the Senate in 2012? After Democratic women played such a critical role in last year's election—delivering an historic gender gap in the presidential race, not to mention shrinking the Republican rape caucus in Congress—you'd think elected Democrats would be eager to show their appreciation, especially when it's as simple as supporting a long overdue bill that has such broad support. We'd never expect Republicans to have the decency to support equality; after all, they went to great lengths to try to prevent the Violence Against Women Act from providing protection for all women. But this is the Democratic Party we're talking about. The pro-choice, pro-woman party. The party that so successfully ran on the distinction that Democrats, unlike Republicans, believe in women's rights.

Now is their chance to prove it. Tell Congress to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Originally posted to Kaili Joy Gray on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:28 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Off to call my new (15+ / 0-)

    Senator and former Representative, Chris Murphy.  No reason he should not be on that list.

    And one thing about Blumenthal, I will consistently repeat.  I didn't like him as our AG -- camera hog and quick to point fingers at AAGs for mistakes he made.  That being said, he was generally progressive and has become and astoundingly great Senator.  He has not hogged the limelight, knows how to be deferential and play ball on the left side of the court.  I'm very pleased to see his name as co-sponsor.

    I thought I'd be dead by the time this fundamental right became an amendment -- well, at least I was thinking Schlafly would be dead by now.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:38:11 AM PST

  •  Not to worry. (19+ / 0-)

    I'll keep this to myself, friends, family, work colleagues, the internet and the third world.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:42:01 AM PST

  •  Is there any analysis out there showing what (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radarlady, Kombema, shoeless

    it would do, what laws it would render unconstitutional, etc?  Presumably it's not just surplusage, so what impact on existing statutes would it have?  

  •  Maybe I'm just a jerk, but I think they should (5+ / 0-)

    change the word "sex" to the word "gender", because I think, and I've been told by others, that sex & gender are different. One has to do with anatomy & 1 has to do with your mentality.

    Follow me on Twitter! @guileofthegods

    by Guile Of The Gods on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:54:13 AM PST

    •  It would be better include both (0+ / 0-)

      Banning discrimination based on sex would torpedo the vaginal ultrasound bills and all the assorted TRAP laws that the GOPers pass to stop women from exorcising their rights to medical procedures since the discrimination is based on their "parts".

      Gender is basically a social construct where men and women are supposed to act to certain social norms.   This also encompasses protections for transsexuals since transsexual is a gender.

      I can see though that the wordings based on sex would be a easier get.

      I agree with President Obama, our country's journey is not yet complete. We must continue the work that our forebearers at Seneca Falls started, and put the Equal Rights Amendment into our Constitution.

      by pistolSO on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 02:17:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Many of us have been hoping, working, trying to (7+ / 0-)

    make this happen for 40 years. When I was sick with the flu and watching TV when bored, I happened to watch an old 70s sitcom where the women were celebrating what they believed would be the victory for the Equal Rights Amendment. They were so sure the time had gone and it would happen.  

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:58:24 AM PST

  •  This is good timing. Make the Republicans vote (7+ / 0-)

    against equality for women. Make them do it, and as they do it, allow them to make lots of stupid comments about women.

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:02:52 AM PST

  •  Somehow this song came to mind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Shoulder to Shoulder into the Fray, Our daughters' daughters will adore us and they'll sing in grateful chorus, Well Done Sister Suffragette.

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:04:57 AM PST

    •  I was probably one of the only kids who went (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverleaf, LilithGardener

      to see the movie, Mary Poppins and found the mother to be the role model rather than the sweet nanny , Mary Poppins. All my other little friends loved Mary and wanted her to be their babysitter or nanny. I wanted to grow up to be Mrs. Banks. LOL..I wanted to be a fighter for equal rights and well, that never really stopped being  a driving force for me.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:10:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My mom, when she'd encounter people who (9+ / 0-)

    were against passage of the ERA back in the 70s and 80s, would ask, what rights do you believe should be denied or abridged on the basis of gender?  She never once got a straight answer, just a flustered, "I'm just against it," "there's no need for it," "bunch-a-feminazis," "it's not the right time," "I'm for tradition," "people should be satisfied with who they are" answer.  Have we moved beyond that yet, or are we still a nation of troglodytes?

    "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

    by middleagedhousewife on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:05:01 AM PST

  •  I can guess why Kay Hagan (D, NC) isn't (3+ / 0-)

    rushing to sponsor this.

    Her Senate seat will be hard to defend in the red-clay fields of rural NC, and a feminazi, anti-Biblical cause like the ERA could be a centerpiece of her opponent's campaign.

    •  I agree with your assessment of Hagan's ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... probably reasoning; and yes, her seat will be hard to defend.  On the other hand, part of the responsibilities of being an elected representative should be, though often isn't, leadership.  And I think part of leadership is educating your constituents on all aspects of a piece of legislation so that they can make informed decisions.  Just assuming that the people you represent have already made up their minds, and that settles it, isn't leadership; especially when you know the legislation is in the best interests of all the people.

      But yes, she knows she has a tough road to reelection, and we know that she is much better than any Republican, and we also know that nationally we will be in a tough fight to hold a majority in the Senate.

      Our state appears to be sliding toward the right at an alarming rate.  We need Democratic leaders to step up and lead.

      Love one another

      by davehouck on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:04:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is beyond comprehension that ERA wasn't enacted (3+ / 0-)

    35 years ago, and even more amazing (outrageous!) that anyone could oppose it now.

    I am a man and came to Boston to go to college in 1978 and I worked to get it passed here in MA, which amazed me as it was not exactly a slam dunk.  I grew up in a home with a very strong mother, so it never occurred to me that I could have any more rights/privileges than my sisters (or than any other women).  Coming from Puerto Rico I expected a liberal paradise where men and women were equals and lived in harmony; instead I was shocked by how much sexism we still have - in the end Boston was not much better than Puerto Rico (with its macho culture).

    I see so many young people - even grade schoolers - that already have some kind of idiotic men/boys are better than women/girls (e.g. second grade classmate girl telling my daughter a few years ago that girls were bad at math).  Sure it is the parents, TV, music and many other stimuli perpetuating these idiotic myths, but when will we be able to free our children from such idiocy?

    As far as keeping it a secret, it makes no sense.  Republicans will attempt to bludgeon Democrats with the usual bullshit anyway ("unisex bathrooms" and "harm to children/families" and my favorite "it will make things worse for women/girls").  Democrats should be screaming this at the top of their lungs and hopefully Obama will enter the fray as that will guarantee that Republicans will go into full teabagger mode against ERA.  I would love to see the Republicans defend their position that it is so wrong to give women equal standing in our constitutional/legal system.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:11:30 AM PST

    •  "It will make things worse for women / girls". (0+ / 0-)

      It seems to me that there may actually be some veracity to this statement. It is my understanding that:

      - Women are currently not required to register with the Selective Service System, nor do they face potential punitive action for failing to do so.

      - Women in the armed forces can currently choose as to whether or not they wish to service in combat positions. The same degree of choice is not extended to male

      - Girls are currently outperforming boys in school, and represent a higher proportion of graduates. Young women make up sixty percent of the college undergraduate population, and receive two thirds of college degrees.

      As such, it seems to me that ERA-driven corrective action in some instances (such as the three examples above) might potentially prove unfavorable to women.

  •  This is so odd, so anachronistic. (6+ / 0-)

    Like hearing the Church forgives Galileo. Or Miss. passes the 13th amendment.

    Republicans represent both sides: the insanely rich and vice versa.

    by Crashing Vor on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:12:04 AM PST

  •  Deja vu all over again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Wait, didn't I already see this play once?  I remember it had a very short run.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:16:50 AM PST

  •  by my calculations... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, kat herder

    ...there wouldn't be enough states to pass this amendment now anyway (2/3 of the states must also pass this legislation, to the best of my knowledge). That doesn't mean we should keep trying to pass it in Congress.

    However, if this is ever going to finally make it as a Constitutional amendment, Democrats are going to have to do a lot better in winning elections in the states.

    Say what you will about Republicans, but they seem to have mastered the art of beating Democrats in the states. Even with their image at atrociously low levels, somehow, Republicans are more than able to put together so much money as to be able to purchase themselves control of many more governorships and state legislative chambers than Democrats. This is what has enabled Republicans to gerrymander the crap out of U.S. House districts and keep themselves artificially competitive nationally.

    Hopefully, Democrats will start being able to make inroads into control of state governments. Only then will this amendment finally stand a chance. (Of course, Democrats would still also have to control the U.S. Senate and House at the same time as having control in 2/3 of the states).

  •  Dick Durbin isn't a co-sponsor?! (0+ / 0-)

    Oh FFS.

  •  The ERA is not needed (0+ / 0-)

    and it's a waste of time. Several states have already given thumbs up, but don't expect any more to bother with it.

    •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

      Not needed? Waste of time? Maybe you should do a bit more research.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 11:11:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not needed? When women's health care is (0+ / 0-)

      targeted with regulations that men's health care never gets and it took Obamacare to stop insurance companies from denying care because according to them, "being a woman is a preexisting condition".

      And I don't see lawmakers forcing men to have an anal probe if he wants Viagra, but if a woman wants a certain kind of pill, Indiana wants them to have at least one invasive and unnecessary vaginal probe.  (They almost made it so they had to have it twice).   Other states have already passed those kind of laws too.

      Point is the Equal Rights Amendment is very needed and I am looking forward to the day when it is ratified.

      I agree with President Obama, our country's journey is not yet complete. We must continue the work that our forebearers at Seneca Falls started, and put the Equal Rights Amendment into our Constitution.

      by pistolSO on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 02:11:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  would be better to say "gender," no? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Phyllis Schafly is still alive (1+ / 0-)

    better to wait until she's moved on to try to pass this again, one less retrograde nincompoop to oppose it.

    Unfortunately, it was opposition among women that killed the ERA last time. The most effective argument against it was that women would not be exempt from compulsory combat duty in the military. Even with the dramatic changes in the military since then I don't know that still wouldn't be an effective argument. Women still aren't required to register for the draft as men are. How many of today's women of potential draft age would be cool on it because of that?

  •  Tipped, rec'd, and signed (0+ / 0-)

    Love one another

    by davehouck on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:41:32 AM PST

  •  Cue Phyllis Schafly in 3-2-1 (0+ / 0-)

    Apparently she hasn't left this mortal coil yet.

    Input is one thing, stupid is another

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:50:24 AM PST

  •  To Hell with Mrs Schafly, this is long overdue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sequestration? GOP=Family Values, my ass.

    by blueoregon on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:12:26 AM PST

  •  Again with this? (0+ / 0-)

    I swear, sometimes I shake my head at our legislative priorities. We've got the equal protection clause which already outlaws discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.

    The myth/fact sheet provided above states that the Equal Protection Clause has not been used to guarantee these rights, but even a simple reading of the clause shows that it would/does. (And really, citing Scalia as support for the position that the 14th doesn't guarantee equal protection under the law? Let's not be that stupid, particularly in light of his recent bullshit.)

    Our efforts should not be into advocating for redundant legislation (which is unlikely to be passed and wastes our time dealing with other, more immediate forms of systemic oppression), but on ensuring that the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and other legislation already are properly enforced in the first place! In addition to the Equal Protection Clause, we've got the Employment Rights Act of 1996 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. None of these laws supporting equality have been properly enforced to do so, even with respect to the systemic oppression which originally inspired them! (Racism.) So why do we feel this amendment would suddenly end sexism?

    But, let's be clear: passing this would be a great SYMBOLIC victory, but it won't end sexism in America, not by a long-shot. Why? Because you'd still have to prove it! Hence why it took years and years during the Civil Rights Movement to end Jim Crow despite the clear provisions of the law and the clear evidence of discrimination. And, even then, it appears Jim Crow is on the rise again with renewed Republican attempts to purge People of Color's right to vote in order to rig future elections.

    So, despite the clarion call, I shake my head at the Democrats wasting our time with a redundant law that would be impossible to pass and wastes our resources that could be better spent on women's healthcare, bodily choice/integrity, pay discrimination law suits, domestic violence/abuse, and a whole host of other issues.

    Anyhoo, let the bashing of my comment begin!

    "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

    by Zek J Evets on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:54:26 PM PST

    •  the 14th Amendment (0+ / 0-)

      If the equal protection clause of the 14th prohibited sex discrimination, then the 19th Amendment would not have been necessary.

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