Last week, the Federalist Society
Convention hosted a presentation titled “Amending State and
Federal Constitutions to Prohibit Sex Discrimination.” According to the panelists, there is a
movement afoot to revive the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which was fought
vigorously, but killed in the 1970’s. Among
those currently promoting the concept are Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Congresswoman
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) who have offered Congressional resolutions reintroducing
the idea. Left wing organizations,
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the United Nations, also favor the ERA. This
year, seven states have reintroduced resolutions to ratify the amendment.
Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly almost
single-handedly derailed the ERA in the 1970’s.
On the dais at the convention, she forcefully and convincingly articulated
why the ERA is a farce. First, the ERA
is not needed to provide equal rights to women.
The U.S. already has gender-neutral employment laws, the Equal Protection
Clause in the 14th Amendment, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
which accomplish the goal of gender equality.
The ERA offers absolutely no benefit to women. On the contrary, it would deprive women of
their current benefits and protections. Supreme
Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, formerly an ACLU attorney, advocated the ERA
as a means to abolish the presumption that men should support their wives. It would obliterate the distinction between
men and women, require strict scrutiny of legal statutes, and disallow sex to
be taken into account when appropriate. It
would result in: the elimination of
social security provided to stay at home moms and widows, the inclusion of 18
year old girls in the event of a military draft, and possibly mandatory funding
Mrs. Schlafly asserted that the constitution
refers to “we the people” and “citizens”.
The word “men” is not in the constitution, and therefore an amendment to
include women is unnecessary. Furthermore,
it is a lie that the proposed amendments will add the word “women”. The texts read: “equality under the law shall
not be denied or abridged on account of
sex.” Neither “sex” nor “equality” is
defined, leaving wiggle room for interpretation by activist judges. Such lack of specificity could have dire
results. The amendment would have
implications for property, divorce, and prison regulations. The courts could require the integration of
single sex schools, and the merging of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. They could insist that school sports become
unisex, and bathrooms as well. The
amendment could even be interpreted to require recognition of same-sex
marriage. The list of unintended
consequences is endless.
Mrs. Schlafly inquired if the amendment
pertains to “the sex you are or the sex you do”. We should further ask if it pertains to the sex
you’ll become in the future or the sex you think you are. Despite the audience’s laughter, the question
has serious implications.
Even if the amendment were modified to read
“women” rather than “sex”, it is unclear how “women” would be interpreted. Genetically male transsexuals who undergo
surgery to become female, still retain male chromosomes. Though male at birth, they elect to have
“sex-reassignment surgery” to “correct” mind-body dissonance. Hermaphrodites who do not get corrective
surgery (“intersexuals”), also do not fall neatly into one category of
sex. Additionally, “she-males” who obtain
female hormones and breasts, but choose not to complete surgery, forever remain
pre-op transsexuals. The definition of
“women” could include the gambit of sexually confused individuals who present
themselves as women.
The “transgender movement” refuses to be
limited to two genders. There is a
“gender continuum” they explain. Male
and female are two extremes on that continuum.
Other genders include intergender, agender, ambigender, gender atypical
or “other”. (This is unrelated to one’s
sexual orientation, which runs the gamut from straight, to gay, bisexual,
asexual, and pansexual.) Some make the
distinction between gender and sex. They
explain that sex is determined biologically and is male or female. Gender is a social construction composed of
psychological, social, and cultural aspects of maleness and femaleness. It includes clothing, personal interests, and
personality traits, which are characterized as masculine or feminine. Gender appears to be an obvious fact, but is
really a societal invention. To social
constructionists, everything is subjective. There is no such thing as reality, only social
convention. More radical sociologists
contend that sex, in addition to gender, “belongs to the world of meaning”
rather than physical reality.
The extreme left claims that children as
young as 15 months old can exhibit signs of being transgendered. Children are transgender when “what’s between
their legs does not match what’s between their ears” and it’s not a passing phase.
Transgender “experts” advise parents of
transgender children to go along with their child’s pronouncement that they are
a member of the opposite sex. Supposedly,
this will help the child avoid depression, self-hate, drug use, negative body
image, and all kinds of harm the child might develop if encouraged to
acknowledge the truth of his or her physical sex.
The DSM IV is the authoritive source of diagnoses
for professionals in the psychological and psychiatric fields. It lists alternative gender identities as
mental disorders. The transgender
community disputes this characterization, insisting that it is only a disorder
if the person who has it experiences feelings about it that cause him/her distress
or disability. Instead, they promote the
view that these disorders constitute “gender giftedness.” Anyone who thinks otherwise is likely to be
slapped with the newest label: “transphobic”.
Most federal and state anti-discrimination
laws limit protections to men and women.
There are no legal protections against discrimination for people who
consider themselves to be both sexes, neither sex, or “other”. Even the Employment Non-discrimination Act
(ENDA), recently promoted by liberals in Congress, was stripped of legal
protections to the transgender community.
If amendments are made to the federal or state
constitutions prohibiting discrimination “on account of sex”, then who
will be protected depends on how the courts define “sex.” Will it extend to the transvestites in women’s
bathrooms, male employees who want to wear dresses to work, transsexuals in
military barracks, or male psychotics with delusions of being female? If gender is socially constructed, then the
push from the left is to reconstruct it.
They endorse the notion of “gender self-identification”, which dictates
that you are what you think you are, even if your biology indicates otherwise.
Will your sex be defined by your physical
characteristics at birth, by society, or by each individual?
You might think that your sex was
determined by God, nature or science.
But leftists promoting the ambiguous language in the ERA are all too
happy to leave that determination up to the courts.