She’s Gotta Have It

Obviously, the ERA needs to be passed one way or another. But it seems like reintroducing it in the House and Senate is more work than is warranted. After all, the House, Senate, and 35 states have already ratified it. Yes, all this happened three decades ago, but there’s a valid constitutional argument that this shouldn’t matter. It seems to me that getting three states – Florida, Nevada, and Illinois (why the hell hasn’t Illinois ratified the ERA?) seem like the best bets – to ratify it would be significantly easier than starting the whole process over again, especially considering that nowadays you don’t have to be batshit insane to conclude that ERAs mandate marriage equality, meaning that the same sorts of people who voted for the FMA will be likely to view the ERA as its polar opposite. And if everyone who voted for the FMA votes against the ERA then, well, we’re screwed. Comparatively, if the ERA is ratified through the three-state strategy, it will probably be viewed as valid in at least some jurisdictions, even if others reject it. And that’s better than nothing, which is what reintroduction will get us.

3 thoughts on “She’s Gotta Have It

  1. Haven’t some of the states revoked their ratifications? If the argument is that ratification is irrevocable, then somehow it smacks of an end-run around democracy.
    I think that reintroducing the ERA is a great idea. Phyllis Schlafly shot it down largely with homophobia. Times have changed!

  2. Mike – Florida has a state ERA, so it’s not inconceivable. And in any case, it’s more likely there than in Alabama, Mississippi, or Utah – though Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas did ratify it the first time around.
    Greg – I think that if the 27th amendment – introduced in 1789 – can be ratified over 200 years later, the ERA can stand a 30-odd year wait. And the rescinded ratifications and amendment deadline are quite constitutionally suspect – there’s nothing in the Constitution saying that states can rescind, or that Congress can impose a deadline. I think it’s likelier that those would be struck down than that the amendment would be. As for democracy, I say that takes second priority to individual rights.
    Also, I actually think that Phyllis Schlafly’s argument has been buttressed by recent movement in gay rights. Thirty years ago, the argument against the ERA was that it would legalize gay marriage, and the argument for was that it wouldn’t. Right now, it’s fairly clear that it would legalize gay marriage nationally (courts in Alaska, Hawai’i, Vermont, New Jersey and Massachussetts have concluded this or something similar based on state ERAs) and so the argument would be between pro-gay and anti-gay forces. That’s not a fight that pro-gay people can win.

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