December 4, 2018

WHENEVER THE DEMOCRATS GAIN A MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THERE IS A RENEWED CALL TO PASS THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT: I wrote about it just after they re-took the House a number of years back. So far these calls haven’t gone anywhere, in part because “equal rights” are the last thing supporters of “affirmative action” for women in science and technology or on corporate boards really want. The calls may be just an effort to rally the troops.

One item of proof that most feminist groups don’t really want an ERA is their reaction to Proposition 209. When that initiative came before California voters in 1996, feminist groups fought it tooth and nail even though it would have required the State of California to refrain from discrimination or preferential treatment based on sex in public education, public employment and public contracting. If they really had been serious about equal rights (as opposed to equal results) they’d have been pleased.

Thursday’s WaPo column does indeed invoke the new House of Representatives as a reason to pass the ERA. The hope is that Virginia will ratify and then Congress will retroactively extend the deadline for ratification (or will be excoriated for failure to do so). Interestingly, the author ridicules Phyllis Schlafly for arguing that the ERA could be interpreted to require unisex bathrooms. Of course, the Obama administration took the even less defensible position that Title IX (which is similar) requires that anatomical males be permitted to use women’s showers and play on women’s sports teams. Given that, it is strange to ridicule Schlafly.

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