Last Wednesday, Nevada’s state senate voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in a 13-8 vote largely — though not totally — defined by party lines. It was a historic vote on an amendment to the constitution that’s been nearly 100 years in the making.
We believe this is long overdue. Despite claims by critics, gender discrimination remains alive and well in America and the ERA would go leaps and bounds further than any current statute in defending the rights of women to be equal citizens under the law. More than that, we believe the Nevada Assembly should vote to ratify the ERA when it comes to a floor vote.
Specifically, the ERA states that equal rights under the law won’t be “denied or abridged” by the government, be it state or federal. This would widely expand the net of constitutional protections for women and would even the playing field for women in the workplace, a place where women are still routinely discriminated against.
Critics of the measure were hollow with their criticism, retreading tired and worn arguments from the 1970s. Echoing conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly, Sen. Becky Harris, R-Las Vegas, expressed concern that the measure would tear families apart by making women eligible for the draft. Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, said that the measure would encourage partial-birth abortions and mandate taxpayer funded abortions.
The latter point is patently absurd considering the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the federal funding of abortions. More than that, considering the state of national-level American politics, to think that abortions could be federally funded anytime soon is farce, at best.
The former point is slightly more valid, but speculative at best. There’s no way to know how the ERA might impact the way a draft might interact with families, but to think that the federal government would allow families to be broken up by the draft — a sure-fire political nightmare for whatever ruling party is foolish enough to do such a thing — again approaches farce.
Sen. Pat Spearman, the main sponsor of the bill, put it best.
“The objections to ratifying the ERA are false, disingenuous and misleading,” Spearman said. “As such, opposition to passage creates a default position yielding to the antiquated notion of misogynistic patriarchy.”