Voter's Pipeline; ERA: Is it Necessary
The 24 words beginning this program the Equal Rights Amendment have caused some of the hottest controversy in the last decade. Let's take a look.
The Washington rally in June of 1981 marked the beginning of the last year of the E.R. a ratification drive and the culmination of almost a decade of organizing.
Beth McAllister became a political organizer in that decade. She led a delegation to the Washington rally.
Today we are able to be a hundred in a city sign you take it straight with rallies. And speakers. But most importantly.
What train organizers.
Where reality is a home run campaign. And a program. That. Really will not be denied.
When the good Lord made this earth. He didn't have the benefit the advice of all the Bella Abzug and the rest. Sometimes we had to drink with. There's only limited intelligence and you want the human race to continue to exist on this earth. So he created a bank. So Genesis says male and female and he gave me the passage to get your room and with the capacity to balance the fact of the matter is that American families are changing the majority of families require two paychecks to get by.
Mothers with small children are working and then to the number of households headed by women is increasing. Some people believe they can reverse these trends. Others want to change the laws to help families cope. The question remains who will protect the family.
Only 12 days are left to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. And three more states votes are needed if those 24 words are to become part of the United States Constitution. Today we'll present a forum on the Equal Rights Amendment. Two guests will discuss the reasons why they feel ratification is essential and two will explain why they feel it is detrimental to women for the way. Is Barbara Hammerman board advisor and past chair of the Equal Rights Amendment. Orange County Coalition. She's a law school graduate and the author of a paper dealing with the effect on criminal justice and worker's compensation laws for the National Organization of Women. Against the barber Townson a speaker for the Latter Day Saints Church and mission of a hole in the past she sold over a million dollars worth of real estate and is owned and operated a 150 pupil preschool. This town is the former host of Romper Room NKF LTV and Salt Lake City Utah for the day. Is Neal right representative for the National Women's Political Caucus he's also a member of the Orange County Coalition now organization and founder of Women's Network alert a law school graduate. Mr. Reich is the state's veterans employment representative in Santa Ana against the Joellen Allen president of the California Eagle Forum Phyllis Schlafly stopped a group she was chairman of the Orange County speaker's bureau for Reagan in 1980 and is associate professor of political science at West Los Angeles City College. We're not going to ask each guest to give a two minute statement on his or her position about this and then we'll have some discussion about it. Let's start now with Barbara Hammond who will speak for the Barbara.
Thank you Jan. You know when I hear someone ask that I get over that both sides of the Equal Rights Amendment we offered. I have to overcome my sense of outrage and remember that at one time there were two sides to the issues of women's suffrage and also for freedom for slaves. The right of citizens to equal protection of the law must be a birthright for all. In this brief Oran we will focus upon two facts fact one due to the total insufficiency of existing legislation. The EIA is essential in fact to the American public wants it unanimously. Fact one. There is no current constitutional guarantee of gender equality. And while the fourteenth amendment uses the words equal protection for all constitutional interpretation allows for differing standards of review for different classifications of people. And the 1978 recent Baki decision Justice Powell writes quote The United States Supreme Court has never viewed gender based classifications as inherently suspect or comparable to racial or ethnic classifications for the purpose of equal protection analysis unquote. Indeed if women had been intended to be included in the 14th Amendment there wouldn't have been the need for 50 years of struggle after that to effectuate the 19th Amendment which finally gave the right to vote to women as to fact too. I handful of legislators in a few states are blatantly disregarding the desire of a majority of Americans. Recently the nationally respected Harris polling organization surveyed a cross-section of American adults. Mr. Harris writes quote The support for it has soared to 63 to 34 percent nationwide. This is an increase of 13 points in three months unquote. Mr. Harris attributes this incredible increase in support to a key development in public opinion. The status he says the dire results that we there are claimed by the opponents of VRA are no longer viewed to be credible. This reality graph I believe was was predictable and I'm out of time.
I'd like to address it later on in the forum. All right so I will come back to that. Barbara Townsend Yari is unnecessary.
You lied I don't believe that it would erase the present inequities. There is no way that it could erase those killed in equity that now stand a would remove no law from the state codes the discriminatory laws that still exist would have to be scrutinized and they would have to be removed by state legislatures and or an individual who would want to bring suit. Then too we have an attitude situation and many of our inequities are a result of attitudes which I am sure that the IRA could not guarantee that we could get rid of attitude problems. It does not purport to deal with anything other than the governmental discrimination and governmental discrimination is already prohibited by the 14th Amendment. And I want to state that I do very much believe in equal rights. I believe in equal rights with distinction. And I did not for the eight vote for equal rights and with distinction.
I think you saw the theory that there's a story on the right.
Thank you Jim first I appreciate your introduction. Many of the audience have never had the opportunity to learn what the IRA actually says the actual words. So on the basis of the fact that some of them may have missed what was shown on the screen and what you said I'd like to repeat it. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Now there's only 24 words there. There should not be any confusion. We're discussing equality and one key issue that usually comes up is what effect will the E R E have on their draft status of women. I'd like to approach that. Obviously if we ever do have another draft it's bound to affect women just as it will men. Remember right now we only have registration women should register along with men and the advent of a national emergency. Women should be drafted along with men. Women should also have the same exemptions as men. Family women family men last to be drafted. Women should also enjoy the same military benefits as their male counterparts. In fact they already do we have thousands of women who are presently serving and who have served in the past in the armed forces they have served during World War One read one or two and have distinguished themselves in Korea and Vietnam. I have been asked the question would you want your daughter to go into combat. And my answer is No and I wouldn't want my son to go into combat either. I want to stress and the second point that for those of you who are waiting for the ERs to die as of June 30th at midnight it will not die. It will not go away. As of July 1st Senator Kennedy and Assemblyman Edwards will reintroduce the new Iraq are a on the floor of Congress.
Thank you very much now we come to George Allen. Alan is it necessary.
No all it's not only necessary I believe that the Equal Rights Amendment is harmful and I must agree with Barbara. And that I am for equal rights for women I'm a professional. I'm a wife and a housekeeper and I do believe in equal rights for women. But this amendment will do more harm than it will do good. The language of the Equal Rights Amendment which has been read in part is absolute. It permits no exceptions. If one were to ask me if I agreed in equal rights for women as a philosophy of course I do. But to place that absolute language which permits no exceptions into United States Constitution can only bring about negative effects. Neal commented that he would not like his son or daughter to go into combat my husband has three sons. I would not want any of them in combat. But that does not change the fact that there is a war. People will be in combat and for obvious reasons. I do not think that we want to place our young women in combat. The Equal Rights Amendment will also adversely affect our private schools our insurance rates our family law Section 2 which was not read will transfer a tremendous amount of local government from the states to the national government. It will also transfer a tremendous amount of authority from elected legislators to federal judges who are appointed by the president serve for life and do not have any opportunity be removed by the people. I would like also at a future time in this program to discuss the Harris poll because I believe that poll was very fraudulent and biased. I think it is time that we bury the Equal Rights Amendment it's been around for 10 years six years longer than any other amendment talk. The American people have rejected it. Let's get about the business of educating people how to use their rights to their benefit.
I thank you very much for the benefit of our viewers and we are assuming that many have not followed as closely as our guest today but for the benefit of our viewers we have a map and we'd like to call your attention to this map because it shows this map I'm going to show the United States of America and it shows in green the states that have ratified it and it will show you in red the states that have not ratified it out of the 50 states in these United States 35 states have represented have now ratified this amendment. That represents a total that is to say that the 35 states that have ratified it represent 72 percent of the population of the United States. There are 15 states that have not represented it. And I will list some of these states Alabama. Arizona Arkansas Florida Georgia Illinois Louisiana Mississippi Missouri Nevada North Carolina Oklahoma South Carolina South Carolina Utah and Virginia. At this stage as we are now producing this program and in the next 12 days there are three cliffhanger States. Those states have not yet taken any action to come out and take any action other than I'm going to name those states for you one of those cliffhanger if we would call it that that had not made a decision is North Carolina. The other is Florida the other is Illinois. There is one other state that has kind of an iffy status and that is Oklahoma where the governor has said that he may or he may not bring this up sometime in these next very important 12 days for the people who are battling on both sides of this issue. You brought this up and I'd like to come back to this Jo-Ellan and I'm going to read the quote for our viewers and then we'll talk about it. Here is a direct quote and this is in this week's Los Angeles Times by in an article by Beverly Stephan A recent Harris poll shows that support of the has has soared to 63 percent. That is to say 63 percent of the people in the United States nationwide in favor. This is an increase of 13 points in favor since January when only 50 percent favored passage of the amendment. The survey reports Harris believes that two important developments have taken place in public opinion about the dire consequences predicted by opponents of the day are no longer viewed as credible by the public. Second big majorities are convinced that women will not improve their economic lot unless the area is passed. So perhaps we should give you a chance to come up first because you have a quarrel with that Harris poll.
Well I have a quarrel on two levels. What I quarrel with the poll itself and secondly I quarrel with the implications of the poll. The poll did not ask an unbiased question. The poll was preceded by a sentence that suggests that women and I'm quoting here will continue to receive lower pay for the same work receive fewer promotions to better jobs and be discriminated against financially. This is what the people who were asked were told prior to being polled. The next statement said opponents argue that the special laws that now exist to protect women are sufficient and no new law is needed that suggests that we live in a paternalistic society. And then the question was asked Do you favor or oppose the Equal Rights Amendment. The question itself was loaded. Nowhere was an argument given against the Equal Rights Amendment. That tells us what will happen regarding the military draft and lawyers on both sides know that and that refers not only to the draft but also to combat. The my second quarrel with that poll relates more closely to the number of states that have ratified we're told that 35 states represent Seventy two percent of the American people.
It seems like population in those states. Yeah equal to 72 percent of the population of the United States.
OK but five states have rescinded their ratification and nobody likes to count that it seems because those five states also represent a certain percentage of the American population and those states that have not ratified the ERISA are not uncommitted to women's rights. Four of them have constitutional provision specifically to protecting the equal rights of women.
And we could go on but I think you begin to see my point I want to give someone else on the other side a chance Barbara or Neal do you want to respond to that. The Harris Poll.
Well the Harris poll I have the exact language here of the questions as well. And while much of what you read is accurate there were some very critical words that were left out and in fact Mr. Harris does include the do what the opponents argument is I don't know that we need to go into that with I wish you would read it because it does not say that. Well it says it does give both sides of the argument. One of the questions and I don't want to belabor this because it is available for public use and we don't have a lot of time here but in as much as you do bring it up it said many of those who favor women's rights favor the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution this is only one of four questions. The amendment would establish that women would have equal rights to men in all areas. I don't think that you would argue with that. No but I don't and our opponents argue that women are different from men and need to be protected by special laws which deal with women's status. Do you disagree with that statement and if you do I'd like to hear that. Secondly I'd like to to reiterate the fact that the main argument here needs to be is it necessary to establish equality of rights under the law. It does not tell anyone what to do in their home what they hold to be true in their private lives. If the Equal Rights Amendment was not necessary why would still 16 states have already implemented stay in their state constitutions. And when a sex discriminatory case comes before the courts very often those 16 states will utilize their state as opposed to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to rectify that from a nation.
I like to we've talked about her a lot like that Barbara Corcoran will give you a chance to respond on this one. Harris gives another interesting comment. There he said to two important relative taking place in a public opinion said the dire consequences predicted by a point to be r.e are no longer viewed as credible by the public. I can think of a couple of dire consequences that I have heard.
One dire consequence that people are concerned about is that the restrooms would be no longer designated as men and women and women in men's wear rooms and women's rooms. Another dire consequence were that women or mothers would be drafted either the dire consequences that they're talking about and would you comment about I think those are are some of them.
And we've mentioned it before but I think one of the dire consequences that I would like to address is in fact this the draft and women serving in combat. There is where I regard equal rights with this with distinction because it would be very difficult for a woman to serve in combat. Because we are physically different. Not for any other reason but that we are physically different.
But groups but group objective groups have looked at this including the. United States Commission on Civil Rights and they have said that they knew that it was no longer a valid argument to say that for example restroom that that's a superficial argument addressed and would be had to be designated unisex restroom but that's not true at all.
Do you do you still have well I don't agree with that there was a time in this country and perhaps still is in the south where there was discrimination where blacks could not use the same.
Let me ask the question if if that element of the draft were not a concern would you still be opposed to the way because.
Well I thought my opening statement was explained that I just don't think it would take care of some of the discrimination that we have now. I feel that such things as the labor board are equal pay. These other laws that we have certainly take care of the economic side. And I feel that in in hearing a lot of the arguments the the economic issue seems to be very great with women. But I don't feel the ERISA would solve that economic problem.
Do you agree that women do have a disparity that women do get 59 cents out of every dollar that a man makes on a comparable job. I quarrel with those figures.
Yes I do. You know the guy's true. No I don't because a woman can go through her lifetime working and doing very well. Women are intelligent group of people and they excel. Well I'm going to argue with that. OK well they take time out to have their children. They lose their seniority because of that and that's why they they do get lesser used to you so you don't except now figures and I get a sense I don't know you don't get me a beer and 59 cents to a dollar as per hour. But when you discuss seniority and time on the job in years that would probably be true the fakirs.
OK you have something to say about that what about the economic factor and the other argument the restroom the graph the economic disparity.
I'd like to touch on the draft. First of all all right when we had a draft in the past there were special deferments from men with families and I feel that if we had a draft again the same deferments would apply and I think the deferments would apply right across the board. Women with families men with families. They're the last to go. They had the same deferments until we ran short of manpower during World War Two. But during the Vietnam era during Korea men with families were the last ones to be touched and I'm sure it would apply right across the board women with families would be also given the same exemptions as far as the restrooms. Barbara brought up a point. They used to have separate restrooms in the south. I remember being in Washington the state capital and we had separate restrooms not right happening right separate restrooms for the rights and separate restrooms for the blacks. This has now been done away with. They have now said that race differences are to be done away with. We have the laws to do away with that. I think it's about time we had laws to do away with sexual differences. I do think that we would still retain separate restroom facilities. There's nothing in the E R E that says we are going to have unisex bathrooms. There's nothing in the way that says we're going to have marriages between the same sex. All it says is equality and having a separate bathroom is equality. We don't have to put people in the same bathroom for equality.
It seems like that's a kind of a superficial argument to introduce in this discussion but I'm going to talk about Iraq. I mean it was let's go on to another argument about the 16 of the 16 states have enacted state you are 16 states have acted. All right do you crawl with that or do you think that there's an alternative way to go.
Should the other for the feel and I would say it is if the opponents of the ear are you saying we should do it a state at a time. Yeah I think there was a quote that I heard not too long ago. This would be like Abraham Lincoln referring to the emancipation proclamation saying well why don't we emancipate a plantation at a time. I really don't think that would be appropriate. We need it to be a national law.
Do you want to address that. I sure do states have stated you quarrel with that if you think that's a great idea.
Well first of all women are neither slaves nor on enfranchise You cannot compare women with slaves. Not only that I would quarrel with the number 16. I've heard the number 17 actual are in from my home when I was 16 stay only six states. Have. An Equal Rights Amendment with the same language as the proposed federal.
But I want some.
There are there is a difference you see because right now women are protected under the United States Constitution and the 14th Amendment and that protection has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. Most of the states that have a so-called state Ouray actually have language which is comparable to the 14th Amendment. In other words it is not an absolute demand. For equal treatment under the law it does permit reasonable differences for instance attendance to private schools and so forth. So there are two different kinds of states. No matter how many state your race you had if all 50 states had stated they still would not have the overall negative effect of the federal run because no state has a military. Secondly there would be no transfer of authority from the state governments to the National Guard.
That anger you that outrage you know that in some southern states women are created a little more than chattel but that is not proper and that is not true that some of their state laws apparently address them that way.
Never that that was true in the past that is no longer true you pointed to a booklet there put out by the United States Civil Rights Commission which by the way was written by an attorney for the National Organization for Women and I believe that it is neither an activist for rights group. Well it is an impartial body but it is constituted to be an impartial body that is why we read the credits at the beginning of the major author was an attorney for the National Organization for Women and I spent a tremendous amount of time going through that particular book when by the way the United States Civil Rights Commission is not an impartial body. That booklet has more. I don't know if they're intentional or errors that I have a Mac and I continue the problem is they quote laws in there that are no longer on the books or that have been superceded by now usually Are you saying that other states have as liberal laws toward women as many other states.
Absolutely I do. What we've heard here today that our recent poll isn't accurate that the Civil Rights Commission is dealing in favoritism.
What do you want to have to say about about the legal needs.
I would say that it is very clear that our Supreme Court justices as I have said very clearly that not only do we not interpret the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to encompass women they will not an affront over returns and we're just not allowed to talk with you. Oakley is going to talk frontier versus Richardson case held specifically in the language of the case. We the court cannot determine that gender is entitle to the strict scrutiny as race and ethnicity until the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified that is a national imperative.
We have just a little time left. If it does fail on June 30th What is the group going to do.
Oh my God we have four it's quite a coalition we're very politically powerful will be on the lines nationally and state wise we're not going away. I mean July 1st is that right July 1st will be actually here in Santa Ana. The flags OK. Well the clock anybody can join us for a victory party.
All right and what about the other side.
We're having a national celebration. Oh it will pass thank you 30 for having a national celebration in the nation's capital.
That will celebrate that.
Yeah I'm going to one of the fight. Does it look like we're stopping. We're not going to go on with the fight against it if it should go on. I hope so yes.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- Voter's Pipeline
- ERA: Is it Necessary
- Producing Organization
- PBS SoCaL
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- This episode of Voter's Pipeline is a discussion about whether the Equal Rights Amendment should or should not be ratified.
- Voter's Pipeline is a talk show hosted by Jim Cooper and featuring conversations with politicians and experts about local and state politics.
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- Copyright 1982
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Director: Ellerbee, Carrol
Guest: Hammerman, Barbara
Guest: Townsend, Barbara
Guest: Reich, Neil
Guest: Ellen Allen, Jo
Host: Cooper, Jim
Producing Organization: PBS SoCaL
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Identifier: AACIP_1132 (AACIP 2011 Label #)
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- Chicago: “Voter's Pipeline; ERA: Is it Necessary,” 1982-06-17, PBS SoCaL, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 19, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_221-0322853m.
- MLA: “Voter's Pipeline; ERA: Is it Necessary.” 1982-06-17. PBS SoCaL, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 19, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_221-0322853m>.
- APA: Voter's Pipeline; ERA: Is it Necessary. Boston, MA: PBS SoCaL, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_221-0322853m