Women's Forum; Debate between Martha Griffiths and Phyllis Schlafly on the E.R.A.; F33
The onion is dead and as in this is women's. Rights equal responsibility and equality under the role of women and not on Women's Forum we commemorate the fifty fourth anniversary of women's suffrage United States debating the furtherance of women's rights our Democratic Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan sponsor of the Equal Rights Medal. Some solution obviously the leading opponent of the program was originally from the national town meeting series on National Public Radio. I'm moderating the forum is John Daley Mr. Daley. Our subject is broad in scope and deeply woven into the recent history of our country particularly in this century its current focus is the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution which states
that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. More than the required two thirds of each house of the Congress recommended the states approve the amendment in 1972 three fourths of the state legislatures must ratify within seven years. Thirty three have done so. And two of those say they want to take it back but they may not be able to do so. Now Phyllis Schlafly comes from a politically active family in Alton Illinois where she now lives. Mrs. slap me is a graduate of Washington University and her master's degree at Harvard in 1963 her first book a choice not an echo in support of Senator Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign launched Mrs. Schlafly under the national political stage and led to the vice presidency of the National Federation of Republican women. Later Mrs. Champney launched a conservative women's organization the Eagles are
flying. Important to our purposes. Phyllis Schlafly since the Equal Rights Amendment was passed in the Congress in 1972 has become known as its principal woman opponent and serves as national chairman of the stop. E.R. eight Equal Rights Amendment stops a committee misuse laughing. Thank you Mr. Chairman and Good Morning Ladies and Gentleman welcome to the National Council meeting. The women's rights movement in this country in general and the Equal Rights Amendment in particular are based on the false premise that American women are mistreated that they are second class citizens that they are discriminated against. I invite any of you here to look around the rest of the world and then you will see how well women are treated in our country. Actually there has been
no class of people any time in any age in any country who has been as well treated as the American woman. And the second reason why the Equal Rights Amendment has gotten as far as it has is it has it has written on the slogan equal pay for equal work. That is a good slogan that everybody supports I don't know anybody who doesn't support it. But when you start to examine the Equal Rights Amendment as the Founding Fathers required that be done in a long and tedious amending process by which an amendment travels around the country from state legislature to state legislature you find that it will not achieve the goals that people have associated with the Equal Rights Amendment. It will not do anything to bring equal pay for equal work or to achieve anything significant for women in the field of employment. None of the propellants any longer make any claims that ERISA are the Equal Rights Amendment will help women in the field of employment. There are many reasons why this is
so. The language of the Equal Rights Amendment itself applies only to federal and state law it does not even apply to private industry. And secondly there is no way that it can add anything to the significant legislation already on the books particularly the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. This law is very specific in regard to hiring and pay and promotions. If you've been watching the papers recently you know that enormous settlements have been won against some of the biggest companies in the country. Last year AT&T had to make a 38 million dollar settlement in back pay mostly to women. And this year another 30 million dollar settlement. These settlements involve not only women who didn't receive the pay they should have but also women who weren't promoted as they should have been promoted and even to women who had not applied for jobs because they didn't think they would get them. What more could you want. And in any event the Equal Rights Amendment would add nothing whatsoever to it in the field of
education the same thing is true. Past discrimination have been completely eliminated in so far that can be done by legislation through the education amendments of 1972 which have now been implemented by the AGW regulations issued just a couple of weeks ago. This these nondiscriminatory provisions apply from kindergarten through graduate school hiring admissions scholarships and everything associated with education. And so when we hear about the Equal Rights Amendment the protons are reduced to telling you it's going to give you a psychological uplift or they talk about the years when women didn't have the right to vote. Of course women have had the right to vote for more than 50 years in our country and it would seem that you really have to have problems to still have a chip on your shoulder about the years when women didn't have the right to vote. I think that the Equal Rights Amendment is very much like trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. You won't kill a fly but you probably will break up some of the
furniture. And that is what the Equal Rights Amendment will do it will take away from many of our women some of the most important rights that they now possess. Let's talk about the kind of women that the Equal Rights Amendment will hurt. First of all it will have a powerful dramatic adverse effect on the rights of the draft age girls. The most immediate result of the Equal Rights Amendment will be if it ever goes into effect that every 18 year old girl will be compelled that day to report to her local draft board to sign up to be given a draft number and to be available for call up. The proponents say this is what they want. They want women to be subject to the draft. Not only will the Equal Rights Amendment compel women to be subject to the draft on an equal basis with men but it will mandate a completely non discriminatory job assignment so that women can and will be put into combat and placed on warships. We submit that no civilized country in the world puts its women into combat. Not even
Israel which because of its manpower shortage has felt it necessary to draft women but it certainly does not put them into combat. But the equal rights amendment would require that and we know this is what this is not what the majority of American men and women want. The second category of women who will be hurt by the Equal Rights Amendment are wives. The laws of every one of our 50 states make it the legal obligation of the husband to support is why there are a few things that are so basic to our laws and customs of the whole fabric of our society as a fact that when a man gets married he knows he is obligated for his wife's support. And in most states he is obligated under criminal penalties. This is part of the marriage contract and this is what gives to the wife her legal right to be a full time wife and mother in her own home. The Equal Rights Amendment will invalidate these state laws. Because no longer could you have any legislation on the books which has an obligation to one sex that it does not give to the other. And we have already seen in
the state which has adopted a state Equal Rights Amendment like the state of Colorado. What effect the Equal Rights Amendment had. The first thing to have. Happens as a court throw out the support law they say it's discriminatory because obviously only husbands can go to jail while can't go to jail. And so all the courts threw it out. And then the Colorado legislature addressed itself to the matter. And they said that they did. They exed out of the support law what the proponents call the sexist words that is man woman husband wife and they replace him with the sex neutral words which are person and spouse. And so now the Colorado law reads that person has to support spouse. And so a wife now has her equal obligation under pain of being convicted as guilty of a class 5 felony for the equal financial support of her family. This is what equality means and we believe it imposes a double burden on the wife because you can't change the fact that it is the wife who has the baby. It is not the husband and there's no legislation that's going
to change that. The third category of women who will be hurt by the Equal Rights Amendment is the divorced woman and she may end up being the one who was hurt the worst of all she will lose the presumption of custody of her children. She will lose her right to support and the right to support of her children. There was a recent article in The Wall Street Journal which points this out very clearly and shows the new class of disadvantaged women in these states which have state Equal Rights Amendment. The courts are now saying well honey you wanted equality equality too bad that you're 67 years old and spent 30 or 40 years making your career as wife and mother. You go out and get a job and support yourself. This is equality. And in Pennsylvania the courts have now thrown out the obligate the right of the obligation of the husband for the primary support of his minor children. The courts have now said this obligation has to fall equally on the wife. And then the Equal Rights Amendment is going to hurt the woman who does manual labor who does industrial work. The woman is not working because she has a career but
just working because she needs the money. I think this was very well summed up by the executive director of the National Council of Negro Women who said I call the Equal Rights Amendment. The left and then token bill. That's just what it is. The women who must do the manual labor will be required to do the lifting and go and token. Which are the men's work they will be they will be assigned to the men's jobs that they have hitherto been protected from. And finally the Equal Rights Amendment will take away from the state legislature's enormous areas of jurisdiction over marriage divorce laws child custody property law and send it up to the hands of the federal government. In this day and age it's very good. But also see why anybody would want to take powers out of the states and send it down for the Congress or the bureaucrats or the courts in Washington to handle when we can do these things so much better at the state level. During most of the time that the Equal Rights Amendment was considered by the Congress it had attached to it another clause and this clause said nothing in this amendment shall be
construed to deprive women of any of the rights benefits or exemptions they now possess. The womens libbers went down to Washington and they agitated and agitated and they got that clause struck out of the Equal Rights Amendment. A fact which proves beyond a doubt that the Equal Rights Amendment will in fact take away from women the rights benefits and exemptions they now possess such as the right of a wife to be supported by her husband. And the exemptions that I draft age girl has from the military and the benefit that a woman who works in industry has from labor legislation. These are some of the reasons why 17 state legislatures have rejected the Equal Rights Amendment many of them two times and one of them at least three times. And this is the reason why many of the states which ratified in a hurry are now having second thoughts. And two of those Tennessee and the rest have now rescinded their previous action. Thank you.
Congresswoman Martha W of Defense has served in the House of Representatives since 1956 is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Economic Committee and its chairman or chairwoman of the latter's fiscal policy subcommittee. Mrs Griffith has served in the Michigan state legislature which judge and recorder of the Detroit recorders caught was a member of the Detroit Election Commission. More important to our purpose is Mrs. Griffin who is sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment and successfully guided its passage through the House of Representatives. MRS. Eh eh eh eh. Thank you Lenny I think that in.
Thank you very much Mr. Schlafly and members of the audience. I would like to discuss with you briefly the Equal Rights Amendment. It is an old Amendment. It was suggested really before the suffrage amendment which suggested the suffrage amendment was broken from the Equal Rights Amendment. Be Equal Rights Amendment had been suggested originally when it was discovered at the 14th and 15th Amendment would not apply to women. Now I would like to point out some of the things that it will do for you today. As you are aware it passed the House of Representatives and the Senate almost unanimously. Both great political parties have endorsed this amendment for more than 30 years. Both parties reaffirmed their endorsement and urge the states to ratify in their 1972 National Convention four presidents have endorsed this woman. So that it isn't necessary to point out to you that
politicians would do nothing that took from women valuable right. That is an error. Of course the Equal Rights Amendment gives women rights. That they do not now have. At the present time under the Social Security law I begin I could state any worker pays into the Social Security funds on the same salary exactly the same amount. But when it comes time to collect. Those workers collect differently. A man who works. Can give happiness Social Security. Under the law to his wife. And when he died. She is entitled to draw his full entitlement. But a woman who works. Cannot give half her Social Security to her husband. And he is the PM
of the bomber. For more than half his needs. This law isn't equitable. It is costing families in the United States more than 2 billion dollars annually. And many of those people live in is a slap at least in my home state. The bulk of all of those who have retired are in the Midwest. They would be in rich if the Social Security law were compelled to come within the Equal Rights Amendment. At the present time in the United States. All single people pay from 17 to 20 percent more. Than married people on exactly the same income. If the Equal Rights Amendment is passed it's ratified because the budget already all single people are women.
This provision in the tax code. We all have to be amended. So that singles and Maori on the same income we all pay the same tax. I would like to say that I hope the Equal Rights Amendment will also do away with the marriage penalty. Where two married workers are paying more and to single people living together on exactly the same income. Unfortunately I think it won't do that. Mrs Schlafly has made much of the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment would do nothing about equal pay for equal work. She is in error. It would of course take care of all women. Who are employed by government. Equal pay for equal work. Would then apply to them. Those payments are set by
regulation or by statute. So that they would get exactly the same benefit. Even the frontier e case. Decided by the Supreme Court which gave to a woman who was in the armed forces the right to a housing allowance for her husband. And medical benefit did not give him commissary privileges. That is an unequal pay for equal work. But all of those provisions that are set by regulation would have to be corrected. Many people assume that we are not passing laws today that are not really equal. This of course is ridiculous. I have just been on a conference for pensions. You would be surprised how equal the pension law is. For instance. For a person who makes less than
$6000. If the company integrates pensions with Social Security. Such a person will receive no pension. May I ask you who makes less than $6000. Why women. And who needs a pension. People who make less than $6000. This law will be voted on sharply. It still discriminates. Against Women. It would give up. Equal rights would give those women the exact right that a man has in a bit and in addition to that. The plantain provide. That you have to work 10 years before the pension vests and those 10 years have to be you're 25. Again strong guys that discriminate women. That's who it discriminates against. And now I would like to ask
why when we were discussing this alimony situation. The state of Georgia's law was that mentioned. Georgia has a law which says that only men can pay alimony and only women can receive. Some man objected to this and he took his case to court as the man did in Pennsylvania. And that. Case was decided not on an Equal Rights Amendment. But on the BIA and 14th Amendment Abhi United States Constitution. And the law of Georgia was declared unconstitutional. What does Georgia have to do to correct this. Well all of these women in Georgia who have objected to equal rights can now go back to their state legislature and say but on alimony we want equal rights. Or no woman in Georgia will ever drop alimony again. Now that is the real situation.
The duty Absa port is a duty. That is real i.e. built into custom. In some states. There are criminal sanctions against the man who does not support his family. I sat as a judge. Against rule by those criminal sanctions applied. Are they asked for by a wife. Very rarely indeed because there are few wives in America who don't have sense enough to know. That a man in jail is not going to support his family. Those laws are applied. By the state government or the county government which is paying welfare to that family and want the husband to contribute. Your husband does not support you because of any law. He supports you because of custom. And because he loves you
and because anything Hamley in America with any sand. Know that it's better to have the one. Out working for money who can make the most money. Because discrimination against women a woman doesn't have a chance at making that much money. What we really need to do. Is to ratify. The Equal Rights Amendment. We have only five more states left. And I am sure that we will be able to get those five states. We will then have two years in which to amend the law. At the state level and at the federal government level. I cannot say to you too frequently nor emphasize it too strong. That. This. Amendment has been sought by women for more than 100 years. There is no woman. For whom it would do any more. Than it
would do for America's homemakers. Let me give you an instance. Supposing today a woman who had married when she was 30. Was divorced when she was 48. What law in this country really protects that woman. Only two percent of all women draw alimony. Is something less than 16 percent continue to drop. Six years after a marriage break up. A woman 18 years married has no right in the husband's Social Security. No right. In his pension. She can't necessarily draw alimony. She would have to pursue him across the United States. That woman is as much in need right within that marriage or a marriage contract as any other woman in America.
That Equal Rights Amendment. Has been has been passed through the Congress almost unanimously. After a long. And intelligent discussion. It has been there for years. And for years both parties supported it. It is now up to the states to ratify it. The biggest offender against equal rights is the federal government. It will bring more money. Into the hands of those already retired into the hands of American men and women. It will discriminate less against men and the children of women. At the present time a woman has her best right on welfare. That right is not given to a man headed family.
This is one of the reasons for the break up of marriages in this country. This is one of the reasons that we should do something now. We who are interested in solid home and decency any quality among citizens. The way to celebrate our 200 birthday is to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. 5000. He alright was the was the scene has been set. And those of you in the audience who have questions know the procedure if you write your questions your name and hometown if you wish it on the cards the cards will be collected and sent up your butt to move to a wider exchange in our town meeting. Two distinguished represent representatives of the media will question the
Mrs Griffiths and she left from Post Newsweek radio and television stations. Thank you Cooper. And from the print side the Washington news bureau chief of The Boston Globe Martin Nolan. Ms Cooper when you start things off this is chaff we have a question here in the order in which she spoke. You said that support for the E R E amendment was predicated on the false premise that women in this country were mistreated. You then compare this country to the treatment of women in this country to the treatment of women in other countries. Do you see any danger at all in allowing or encouraging our standards to be influenced by lesser standards of other countries in the treatment of women. Well yes if you reduce the American woman to equality she would be reduced to a lesser standard than other countries. Equality is a step down for most women. And there are lots of illustrations we could give exemption from the draft as one women in some other country are compelled
to serve but not and I don't think in the civilized countries are they put into combat in this matter of family support. Women have a very special and find place in our country. The woman in the United States is guaranteed by law of her legal right to be a full time wife and mother because it is the legal obligation of her husband to support her. Now you look at the countries behind the Iron Curtain where women have the equal obligation to go to work and to park their children in a government nurse race all they can perform their social obligation to the state. And if we try to accommodate ourselves to the standards of women in other countries is nothing but a loss for Americans. I agree. Mrs. Griffin as you mentioned two fairly well documented inequities in the tax and social security systems. One is the tax taxes falls. Unfairly upon single people and the other is the is the way women are mistreated
under the Social Security system. I have two part question on that. One is why is these supposedly powerful House Ways and Means Committee been unable to do anything about this. And to Will and equal rights amendment just watched these inequities away overnight. You know it doesn't wash them away overnight. The Equal Rights Amendment when ratified gives the federal government and all state governments two years in which to correct these inequities. If at the end of that time they have not corrected them then any individual citizen would have a right to sue under the Equal Rights Amendment. Now there have been suits brought on Social Security as Miss Vivian Callum's of course has refused to pay your taxes. Under the single standard and no person it with one exception has ever won one of the suits under Social Security that is a right to collect against the wife's Social Security. I get
there with it does not automatically change the rule. You would have to have a baby. But I would like to point out to you Mr No I am the only woman who's ever sat on ways and means what 12 others. You look as though you can't wait to say something. I. Know I've seen that Ways and Means Committee work. I'm not the case may be. I just wonder though if women are in the political majority and have been for 50 years. Why has their influence been so little on that House Ways Means Committee. Except for yourself one of the answers is that many women are unaware of these inequities until they themselves are affected. And I made a speech one morning to about a thousand men and I
kept objecting to the fact that women and men could not collect on their wifes Social Security and that a husband and wife paying into Social Security could pay on a basis of as much as twenty two thousand dollars. And yet the survivor of either draw less than the widow of a man who paid in at 13 do. As I left the hall one of the man came up to me and said Say I want to tell you my wife has always worked. And you know why she can't collect her Social Security and mine. But you know. People don't understand this until you buy it then they don't know. And then they object. There's a group in this group that I have a question about the authority of states to rescind an action which they ratified two states have ratified the amendment and subsequently rescinded it. There are some questions certainly at the level of Congress as to whether or not states have the power to do that and I would like to get
reaction from both of you on that question. I know the 14th Amendment Two states did this same thing when it came time to count those who had ratified it. The truth was that they were counted by every state as far as I know has been advised by their own attorney generals that they do not have the power to rescind. The federal government gives them the power to ratify not the current reset. And you have to do is give them that power. And the first thing you know we will rescind the Bill of Rights. Yes. Yes I think this matter of re sending shows very clearly that the propellants want to take powers away from the state legislators. They are desperately afraid that the slave states which have already ratified E R A are going to find out the disadvantages of it and go ahead and rescind. So they're not willing to face the thing on the merits. They're trying to tell the state legislators that it can't do it. Now there is absolutely nothing in the
Constitution in any federal law or in any Supreme Court decision which denies to a state the right to rescind it can repeal any of the law that it ever has that it has passed. And they most AM have constitutional authority in this country says that a state has every right to rescind including Senator Sam Ervin in the Senate who says that every every state has the absolute right to rescind and Professor Charles Black of Yale Law School who said these are just the mickey mouse tactics of the proponents who want to get people locked in like in a lobster trap that was his expression. And it is simply ridiculous to say that as long as the states have as long as the three fourths of the states have not ratified that you can't rescind it. You certainly can and let's face the thing on its merits instead of trying to deprive a state of the right that it had. May I comment on the social security point. You are. You will notice that in the claims about Social Security they all come back not to
rights of women but to the right of the woman's husband to collect. Now that's not a woman's right. And the Equal Rights Amendment has been sold as something which is going to advantage women. But when you were examined the statements that have been made they refer to the right of the husband. Now there are all kinds of inequities in Social Security and I'm not going to defend the system as it is now cost too because a lot of unfair things in it that the Congress should have changed if they'd been on it doing their job they should have changed it. But let us understand that the thing is predicated on the fact that it is the law and the custom of our country that the husband supports his wife and therefore under Social Security. If you are a wife who has never been in and outside employment in paid employment during all your years of being a wife you can draw on Social Security. And this is the great advantage that women have under Social Security. Now if you're going to say that each person has to establish his own work record on his own which is what the E R A proponent usually wants
then you're going to wash out the right of the wife who does not engage in paid employment. So let's remember that so many of our laws that are basic to our country are predicated on the belief that the husband should support his wife and I think that's a philosophy and I would like to say that the gentleman is stating an absolute fallacy. That's all right. Yeah right. I don't actually take from their home their right to collect on her husband's Social Security. All it will do is to give the husband the right to collect on a wife's Social Security and while Mrs. Schlafly doesn't really that this is a right of a wife in every contract in this country and those benefits are considered the rights of the workers the wife who is paying in the same amount on Social Security tax as any other worker is getting a lesser benefit for her family. The truth is that the
inequality is inequality because it gives to a woman supported family. A lesser right than to a man. Are you really for discriminating against those children and their husband. I'm not. Well I think it is the obligation of the husband to support his wife and the wife does not have that option. I think you're right your friends what you describe how do you mean that I write about it. Let us say that the national town meeting takes its heritage from the old town meetings and one of its cardinal rules was everybody gets heard. Now you know if you feel like it's the weather Otherwise I suggest you stay here and listen to what is being said. I think on the social security matter you've heard both sides present it in some
depth. Those who have not yet satisfied themselves completely on the matter have a local library where they can go and get really boned up on it which is something all of us want to do more up. Mr. Nolan I think you have the floor. Mrs. Lapham the very first a group of people that you said would be hurt by the Equal Rights Amendment were draft age girls. And you talked about women being sent into combat. Well I was in the Army for two years as a draft and and from my experience the Army finds it very easy to write up new regulations exempting all kinds of people from all kinds of duties you really don't have any doubt that the Pentagon's really women from combat duty just by a simple signature. Chief. I would like to answer that. Yes I certainly know that they cannot violate the Constitution. They can write other kinds of exemption. They can't exempt you because you're over age or you only have one eye or one leg or because you have some kind of physical disability or something else. But they cannot exempt you because you're a woman.
The Constitution says that. And this is the testimony of lawyers in every one of the state hearings and as a matter of fact I heard a state legislator ask one of the callers at the Virginia hearing couldn't they Army assign the women to the desk jobs and leave the fighting up to men. And she replied Oh no because that would discriminate against women and deprive them of their equal opportunity to win a congressional medal of honor. Now most Not a lot of winners or debt but the fact that women will be put in combat is admitted by the proponents in all these. But they they want of course they're all one thing those are over draft age but they still they that's what they want. Well of course I mean there's there's no draft. I mean. Well no but surely you don't think we were right. Time when I've been having World Wars you know we keep having these wars about every 10 years even though the politicians keep promising us Pete I mean draft is not mandatory under the Constitution. I mean that's a draft is not mandatory but what we are able do is say if we have a
draft women must be drafted. The Selective Service Act says all male citizens of 18 must register I had a boy read. Had to register just a couple of months ago. You don't get out of it. And E.R. you would make that unconstitutional. It would have to be all persons of age 18 so that if we are confronted with a national emergency we have this social upheaval requiring women to be drafted for the first time in our history. Now the proponents say that Congress already has the power to draft women. That's right. If we had an unexpected national emergency such as we've never had an artist rate such as we didn't even have in World War 2 when we had a terrible enemy on both fronts Congress could draft women if the American people wanted it. The point is the body our way is that Congress will not have the power to exempt women and we like them example. On the issue of women in combat does not. Is it not possible now for men to be exempted from combat duty on the basis of physical incapability and is not one of the bases
for that lack of strength or weakness. Well it is possible but it depends on your national emergency. Now in World War Two they were putting anybody who would comment combat who could stand up and ready in just a pen. In World War Two they were drafting fathers up through age 35 in the Vietnam War they didn't like grandfathers. It depends entirely on your national emergency. Very close friend of mine is on your side of the NRDC the end of the table he was in the bitterest kind of combat. And of course the most decorated man in World War 2. Audie Murphy was a smaller frailer than most women. It just depends on your national emergency. But if it's a truly national emergency wouldn't women want to serve in any. Well they haven't in the past. I wonder how many of those who were clapping did volunteer and were in the past wars. OK you have your right.
That's about 1 percent of the class. You have your right to volunteer and you still write that you're right. If you want to serve you run don't walk to the nearest to the sign up there looking for you know the right away from other women who do not think that it is their obligation. Just as they do not have been there only the right to volunteer at all they have to meet a far higher standard than a man who volunteers and just like under Social Security they are given less. In pay because they get less benefit. And man get. And of course Mr. Schlafly knows perfectly that the 14th Amendment has always required that man be treated equal. Yet case after case. Problems have been brought before the Supreme Court and they have said all you have to have at it is the draft. The irony can then assign people to any
place it wants to and that is not. The problem. They can become scientists a lot and that's exactly why I don't want to be assigned. And also I have a letter from the Department of the army. Absolutely no women at every job in the army. They get equal pay not equal branch and they are not I smart enough to recognize any benefits they get G.I. Bill. May I suggest that the Social Security question and I'm very happy by the way. And we must have 20 questions from the audience or concerned with that particular issue. I'd like to go to a question from the audience now and intersperse them. Ms Cooper and if you want to get into this thing just jump in that's what your microphones for this question is directed to. Lafley
and it's from Diane Salter in Los Angeles California. Ah Blossom says California in a recent nationwide Harris opinion poll women were asked whether they favor or oppose efforts to strengthen or change women's status in society. When married women were asked this question a clear plurality said they favored these efforts of all women as the plurality was even greater in light of this response. Why do you believe most women oppose the way there is another question asked what other national organizations support stuff. Well you can take your poll I guess but the Elmo Roper poll when they asked Pacific questions said that 70 percent 77 percent of women does agree that women should have equal treatment regarding the draft and 83 percent of women just agree that a wife should be the balance the bread earner if she earns more money than the husband.
If you ask the specific questions in regard to what E.R. is going to do I believe you will find the overwhelming majority are opposed to the to the to what the Equal Rights memo will do. This is why we have 17 legislatures that have voted against it plus the two that have rescinded. This is why large organizations such as the National Council of Catholic women with 11 million members have voted repeatedly against the Equal Rights Amendment in our state the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs largest women's organization the state voted three to one against it. The Southern Baptists were 12 million members voted against it. I could go on and on there are plenty of them and the overwhelming number of giardia women I believe are opposed to the drafting of women and opposed to the elimination of the laws which require the husband to support his wife. All right Mrs Griffith. We have a very happy occasion this morning we have a letter from Doylestown Pennsylvania. Based on our previous national town meetings and
aware that we were going to discuss the subject of women's rights struggles. The letter begins with a very warm paragraph praising the program which I'm much too modest and humble to read. There is a question for us this morning which I think is very broad in scope but perhaps might find. Satisfaction for a good many people. It's posed this way recently. This is from George Arnold in Doylestown Pennsylvania. Recently someone said your right to swing a club through the air ends where my nose begins. Where do women's rights and men's rights begin. Kind of a man's question is right. This is just an obvious play. Men have taken the right to run the world with women in public policy making positions or in any policymaking positions. They have had Alis years the right end of which they are now exercising in very large numbers. Add to divorce their wives
after the wife has reached middle age and to leave her really with nothing. It isn't true that they have to pay or. It is a very difficult thing to collect any type. Of alimony. Their rights have been the rights. That they have chosen to exert. Women of course. I have been little. Above serfdom in many ways. They have had to take the position assigned to them in life. And they have assumed that position. With out any financial reward whatsoever. And they have been. Subject to being abandoned to being. Mistreated. And finally the only real right that the federal government guarantees to a woman. Outside at 20 years of marriage you can draw on your husband Social Security and I put that he and I the
only other real right she has a right to draw welfare. Miss Cooper you were just up to your question Mrs Griffiths based on this kind of history of male mistreatment of women. As far as my history books show the women vote in this country for 50 years. And while women been unable to organize themselves and to elect more members of Congress and to use that but I don't think there's any instance of women being denied the I know friend out as well. Unlike those situations blacks away women are unable to do that. Well one of the answers to that is. For instance on the election to public office is because there have not been women who offered themselves for public office until recently. One of the reasons here in my judgment that there are NEVER been women available for Congress is because that the woman beside it interferes with her home duty.
If she ran and wasn't married then she was downgraded. Because she wasn't mentally she would not understand. She was looked upon as an old maid. If she were married then it was said. The argument most used against her was well she should stay at home. She should be out of the public eye. She shouldn't be doing these things. Now I said finally I think that women had very great problems in raising money much greater than a man that has been raising money to run for these offices and money is part of the problem. But women have not before had really an understanding of what law was. Passed due to their own status. Now they're beginning to lightness and even those women who understood what this did to their own status they did not have available to
them the money to inform other women. That is to make the telephone calls or make the trips or mail the letters necessary. You have to have a tremendous campaign to show people what these laws do. That's really at my opinion the reason they haven't are going to. Right now we have another question. This is about more of a comment but I think that you already hear it is from Sara Lee live in Virginia and it reads I play soccer. And boys say I and my team can beat your team because we're boys and better than you. And where did they learn it from mostly their parents and comics. Mrs. Griffin's we have a question here which again is broader from Jan Francis of Glenwood Springs Colorado. Don't these civil rights act the 14th Amendment and other provisions of the Constitution give equal rights to
women already. Do we really need another constitutional amendment to do this. The Civil Rights Act is an attempt to give rights to women but it gives them those rights a largely an industry. The Equal Rights Amendment is addressed to our government and government only. It's not addressed to an industry at all. The Fourteenth Amendment has tried time and time again. By women in order to give themselves right and in every instance the Supreme Court ruled against them. Only after the Equal Rights Amendment was finally passed. Did the Supreme Court began. I had to look at women in the lie. Individuals protested under the 14th Amendment. This is the real reason why those who oppose the Equal Rights Amendment never use the argument that the 14th and Fifth Amendment gave women rights because they knew. That you could cite case after case.
Try before the Supreme Court in which the Supreme Court has refused to apply the 14th Amendment to women. May I answer that. You know that of course is not true that we don't use the Argan of the 14th Amendment we're happy to use it. And I would like to challenge this statement made at the beginning of my opponent's statement that the 14th Amendment does not apply to women. Way back in 1875 in the case of minor vs. happens there's the Supreme Court said specifically that women are persons they are citizens and under the 14th Amendment and all the rest of the constitution and a title to all the rights and benefits and guarantees that citizens have in this country except the right to vote. And we got that out of the women's suffrage amendment. So we are fully guaranteed. And the thing about the 14th Amendment is that it does permit the court to make reasonable differences and the legislators to make reasonable differences between men and women. And this is why if a woman challenges the Selective Service
Act under the 14th Amendment the court will say the 40 the mammoth give equal protection of the law and all people but it does not mandate that the women they subject to the Dred. He does allow reasonable differences that reasonable men and women think should take place between men and women. Now of course this whole idea that women are kept in serfdom in this country is so far from reality that it's hard the anybody could make such. Famous Women are is so much better off in this country than any any other group of people anywhere else that it's over I have been in the same second place that there isn't any comparison. But the 14th Amendment allows the reasonable differences it allows the laws to remain which say that the husband must support his wife and must support his minor children. It allows the reasonable laws that have protected women who work in industry from being subjected to the same terms of employment that a man does is subjected to but the Equal Rights Amendment will mandate a doctrinaire equality and every case that we have so far where the courts have been
confronted with the E.R. with the Stadio Arev it has resulted in a loss of rights for the women. The proponents have been telling us that when men will be upgraded to that level. Oh no that isn't the way it go. And incidentally I'm happy to mention that George Allen many case I think that's a great example of how the courts are going to get carried away. There was one wild judge in Georgia who simply threw out the George Allen of the law and under the 14th Amendment he was reversed on appeal. I think it was. Now I feel as if there does seem to be a difference to be sure we're on the same case. But regarding the point the point is still valid because it shows what course I'm going to do and the pro-pot to hear this and I think this is great. They took our money away from women and. Mrs. flatly made one of these statements on a Today show about the Pennsylvania law and that program was called to
account. In that state because she had not stated the law. That. Correctly. She is not a lawyer and she is not telling you truthfully what has happened in these. States. That Virginia a bridge or any other law was not reviewed by the Supreme Court on alimony. But a Georgia case. That has not yet been decided at all. I did not say anything about the Supreme Court in regard to the Georgia case. But I would like to answer your point about the Pennsylvania case and I'm very happy that you and I would then correct your statement that I made out of Pennsylvania that there law and Pennsylvania pointed out how incorrect your statement had been about the way I did not point that out at all and every statement I made was absolutely correct and I can. I can prove that I what I called attention to was the way Gann case in Pennsylvania under which the Pennsylvania court
invalidated the superior rights that a wife has in regard to separate maintenance to pay and support during litigation and payment of her lawyer's fees. These are rights that the wife enjoyed that the husband did not enjoy when confronted with these the Pura rights under the new Pennsylvania Equal Rights Amendment. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said this is an equal. Therefore we must strike out the superior rights that the white hair in that court case is absolutely accurate and I think it is. And I'll tell you I'll be glad to provide you with the opinion anybody you asked me I'll give you the facts and you can read it for yourself. Now that you've got a bill you don't want a lawyer who's now law school just a couple years ago tried to deny that. But she doesn't have the facts and she talked about another case. But in not one matter of a single comma was I inaccurate in what I said about the week and this is the statement of the office of the attorney general's office of the attorney general here as a young woman lawyer and not me attorney general and I think that this is Griffin's spirit if
this is the office of the attorney general of Harrisburg Pennsylvania calling the attention of NBC to the incorrect representation of Mrs Schlafly on that show. I have been further by the attorney general the president or any general of Pennsylvania. That on June the twenty eight. The governor of Pennsylvania signed a law making alimony counsel fees and expenses equally available to both husband and wife. Now this will have to be done of course in Georgia. It is done in most other states at the present time and Pennsylvania has been the wise have three separate full rights of support. Child support until several months ago Pennsylvania case law established a presumption that the father had the primary responsibility for the support of children. But in March of 74 The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found this presumption unconstitutional the court ruled that judges must look at the positions of financial positions of both mother and father. Now the truth is that that is
what they had been doing all these years and that is what they do in other courts in other states. Now look Mr. Chairman this is graphic. Accuse me of an untruthful statement. There is nothing that she said that substantiate that claim. Everything I said about the weekend is accurate. I will be happy to provide anybody in this audience with a copy of the court opinion she has diverted into other cases like the case that threw out the obligation of a father for the primary support of his minor children in other cases. Incidentally we could argue those two I'm up there on my side of the argument too. But I but no I mean has just proved the accuracy of what I said about the weekend. It would be so much simpler Mrs. Schlafly to argue these cases with you if you were a lawyer. All right if you were a representative of someone who had to account to the public. The answer is that you can make one statement have a call to their attention this is not what I am saying your I'm truthful you are me that I think you should
apologize you were misinformed. I think you know what I want to thank you for letting me be. That we are dealing with matters of law as affording a right to you. That after a relatively long time on this globe I found that almost everything connected with the law is subject to interpretation and interpretation might differ very broadly. Let's leave it there. Peggy Cooper the. Host Newsweek radio and television stations is also a lawyer and she wants to talk to you because I think this time I have a comment as opposed to a question I think the discourse which we just heard probably points out that there is a need for a clear a law since so much of the present law is left to interpretation. And I think that's a point which we should take no further. There have been an ever increasing number of cases regarding women's rights are you know under the 15th the 5th and 14th Amendment. Every day you know we're getting cases
relating to police departments the FBI and what have you. I think that perhaps having an amendment would decrease court costs and decrease court burdens in the judicial system in this country which is quite a problem. Perhaps that would be a good byproduct effect. But not only do that but it would permit the legislative bodies who are paid to legislate to handle a matter in place of permitting the courts to legislate. But they are now doing. While we're in this general area including outside of the law or there's a specific question Mr. Lafferty from a Jerry Scheiber or New York City. Isn't it true that a great deal of our protective labor laws have protected women right out of executive and high paying jobs. Knowing the very question indicates that the person who answered it doesn't know anything about what goes on in industry because the protective labor legislation don't apply to executive and professional jobs. They don't apply to the person who asked the question don't know what you're talking about. The protective labor
legislation are to protect the women who work in industry and do manual labor. Because women are not the same physically as men. A woman can compete equally with a man and intellectual professional academic pursuit but not in physical labor. And these laws vary from state to state but they are laws which prevent a factory from working a woman in a manual labor job too many hours a day too many days away. Laws which mandate better rest areas are rest periods. A chair to sit down on. Laws which give more generous workman's compensation to a woman for more parts of the body than to a man and the weight lifting laws and so forth. And we think these are good law. Now you may have an occasional Amazon of a woman who can lift 100 pounds in life to do it but 99 percent don't want to. And I'll give you an illustration. My son went to work in a copper plant last summer after the first eight hours. They said you're working a second hour today. At the second day they said you're working another four hours.
And in order to keep that job he had to work a 60 hour week. He had not nothing voluntary about it. He had to do it or else quit the job. Now this is the type of thing women have been protected from. We were going to our boy I was doing all that work but see how unfair that is to the woman who still has to go home and feed her now under the court they were thrown out that validated these laws. Women are now subject to this that in our plants they are now requiring women in some of our big plans to work the 12 hour day they have no choice. Oh they can quit but then they're out of a good job. And in other areas where there are periods of layoffs they can layoff the ones with the least seniority and they can assign the others to a man and the woman doesn't want to do it. She is not only a quitter. Wants to quit but she loses her unemployment compensation. And these laws were designed to protect women. And they do protect women and where the courts have thrown him out. Under the Civil Rights Act I think women are going to find out they're heard and they're going to come back and want an amendment. But if
you take them out of the Constitution there's no way they can put them back again except with another constitutional amendment. The hours law has been used all of the time to keep women out of executive positions. I know one woman who was had pointed out her no you can't be the bad president because you would have to work overtime. We have those two hours three martini lunch and and it won't you won't be able to do that. Now that the so-called protective legislation never really protected there was only one weightlifting law in the entire state of New York and applied only in foundries. There were no women working and found in the places where women worked in retail stores and hospitals. The weightlifting law never applied any little £90 nurse can obviously lift a 300 pound man. Because he's trained to do it. I the so-called protective
legislation of course. Has been thrown out. Now under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and high time. Now. This is going is what I have you. Stage front. I think this is Mr. I hope I'm right. Mrs Miss MS was timbered from Bellevue Washington. She asked a very specific question and perhaps she would like to answer how will a help a 40 year old De Boer say the relation to Ray is not clear she says. Well as the E.R. eBay said Help a 40 year old a bar say in the fact that if she does get a job. She will not have to pay a tax that is higher. Than a Maori man pay. It should open up to her places within government jobs that have not here to pour been available to her as she should be able to get promotions. She should be able to get paid on the job in the same way
that a man is paid by those with the sum of the way and which would help her. Now if she goes on welfare. As many divorcees at 40 years of age would have to do. And she then Maoris then she marries a man who isn't working. She will not necessarily lose the welfare either as she would say. There is another broad question which is covered in a general way and many that have come up here which I would like this group is to address yourself to. Will women be able to choose homemaking as a career after course I can choose homemaking as a career. The idea that they're going to have to get out and go to work is ridiculous. This law applies to government so it does not apply to personal relationships. The husband and wife can decide between themselves which are if both will work. They have that right now and they will continue to
have that right. The law will merely say that if she does go to court then those the government has to treat her the same as it treats a man who works. That is all. Yes there will always be wives who can sweet talk their husbands into doing what they want them to do. But right now the law is on the side of the law. She has a legal right to be protected. And what the wife will lose is that legal right to be protected and what the 40 year old divorced woman will lose is the right of the right to get. Alimony or child support from her husband. And the presumption of custody of her child and any way you slice it she's going to lose under ERISA and he won't gain anything because there's no way that the Equal Rights Amendment can add to the Equal Employment Opportunity Act which is fully guaranteed fully guarantees equal pay for equal work. Mrs. Schlafly Catherine Sullivan of Riverside Connecticut asks do not believe
that the way rather than hurting the manually laboring female might help the male manual laborer through extension a protective legislation in sex neutral ways such as using percentage of body weight lifting laws etc.. No I don't and there's no there's no instance where this has happened. There is nothing in the equal rights amendment that requires upgrading to any special level. The only thing you are a requires is equality and experience shows that in most of the cases that we have at the present time the courts don't upgrade anybody they just reduce it to the lower level. There's no way a court can come along and order more money to be paid that hasn't been paid or authorized by legislation. All they do is take away rights that are now on the books. To make you of course let me point out. That the way the courts have interpreted all civil rights acts. Is to give to a blacks any benefit that a white had.
But if it were a discrimination against a black then the law fail so that all you have to do in any of these is to extend the benefit to the man or the woman whichever is not now benefit. That's all what it would do. Well they did not extend the benefit in the alimony case which is a matter of record. They did not extend the benefit in the separate maintenance case which is a matter of record. The state legislatures have already extended those in every situation in which it has been brought to their attention. Not at all yet. Yes. Oh yes. Except I do hope Mrs. Ladley you help Georgia correct their alimony natural right. This is Stephanie. I've puzzled about this for a bit. These questions I think tend to be self-serving but I think also it seems that they have come here and in several numbers one from South Carolina one from Virginia one from Florida the essence of it is how is the
stop campaign finance you don't have to answer it I think you know I'm very happy I'm very glad you brought that up because we need money and if you would like to send your contributions send it to stop you are a also an Illinois 6 2 2. We'll be very happy to have. We have no government money no foundation money no organization money of any kind and we we need your money. Now on the other hand the other side has government money. They have people on the federal payroll traveling all over the country spending money and time your taxpayers money to lobby for people in the Department of Labor people in the White House are traveling all over the country to appear on television to testify. They are putting out expensive booklet that the government expands and mailed out on the franking privilege. And I noticed that this program here today has provided you a couple of government books which get only that nobody provided the other side that was not in the book but that's a kind of a call right there.
And you know I know I know that by Playboy magazine this one that never had a hearing I'm just laughing I think you've answered the question. Now I'm on the defensive for an hour and 15 minutes I nearly made it. These publications which Mrs. Ed reference to are authored or come out under the door of the citizen's advisory council on the status of women and there are as I think if you look at and there are proponents and opponents we distributed them try to give our audience a better grounding on the details of the subject which we're going to discuss today. If anybody has been influenced too much an influence yourself Could I ask you we've been talking about the law. Maybe there's a broader cultural question that we could address shortly. Maybe we all watch television shows and the commercials tell us that women are going to be very happy to get a better detergent. Well what do you think.
American women should see if she is given equality and opportunity. Could you give us a concise statement of what you think the American woman wants and should seek Would you please make it concise. I'm running out of time. Well of course I think she should be permitted to do what her talents entitle her to do. And that thing which she herself speaks orients that I personally have equal rights because my husband gave them to me and that's the reason I'm sitting on the Ways and Means Committee and that's the reason I've been in this Congress. And I would assume Mrs. Schlafly has equal rights because she goes and her husband has given them to us. But this is not true with every woman. Every woman has not been given the choice. Well I believe that the horizon is unlimited for American women today. I think you can do whatever she wants to do and I believe in complete freedom of choice. I think the woman should have the freedom of choice to serve in the military or not the serve in the military. I think he
should have the freedom of choice to be a full time wife and mother supported by her husband. If that is her choice or to go into the workforce on the basis of equal pay for equal work if that is her choice are to do both at the same time which she has the right to do. Also under our present law I think she should have the full freedom of choice I think she should have the freedom of choice to go to a coed college or to go on with angles that college and all all of these areas we have this choice under the present time ERISA will put us in a mold of doctrinaire equality which I believe is hurtful. I speak is where Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan who sponsored the young Reagan Congress and beating the male opponent of the amendment Phyllis Schlafly the program with produced by National Public Radio put the national town meeting in serious with moderator John Doe. This is gonna set
the need for Women's Forum from WFC on Amherst Wishing you a pleasant day. Thanks.
- Women's Forum
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- Episode Description
- Debate between Representative Martha Griffiths, sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, and Phyllis Schlafly, the main opponent of the ERA. The participants present opening statements and then respond to questions from two journalists, Peggy Cooper and Mark Nolan.
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Host: Adams, Janice
Moderator: Nolan, Mark
Moderator: Cooper, Peggy
Moderator: Daly, John Charles, 1914-1991
Panelist: Schlafly, Phyllis
Panelist: Griffiths, Martha W. (Martha Wright), 1912-2003
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Identifier: 272.06 (SCUA)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Women's Forum; Debate between Martha Griffiths and Phyllis Schlafly on the E.R.A.; F33,” 1974-07-10, New England Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-305-1615dx01.
- MLA: “Women's Forum; Debate between Martha Griffiths and Phyllis Schlafly on the E.R.A.; F33.” 1974-07-10. New England Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-305-1615dx01>.
- APA: Women's Forum; Debate between Martha Griffiths and Phyllis Schlafly on the E.R.A.; F33. Boston, MA: New England Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-305-1615dx01