To the Editor
To ensure gender equality in future generations, we must raise awareness to various bills before the Minnesota House of and Senate that deal with the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). These bills push Congress to remove the deadline for state ratification of the ERA to the U.S. Constitution (SF 229 and HF 356), and put a version of the ERA to the voters for the Minnesota Constitution (SF’s 224 and 101 and HF’s 189 and 313).
As a father, I want to give the best possible future for my daughter. I want to make sure that any act of discrimination that compromises her future, and the futures of all our daughters, is barred by strict Constitutional scrutiny.
The ERA reads: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of sex.” Contrasting to current law, while the U.S. Constitution’s 19th Amendment discusses gender specifically, it only pertains to a right to vote. While the Federal Civil Rights Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act bar gender discrimination, an act of Federal or Minnesota legislation, respectively, can overturn them. Passing a Minnesota Constitutional Amendment and pushing Congress to remove the ratification deadline of the U.S. Constitutional Amendment guarantees these rights, free of challenge based on the legislation’s mood. Without the ERA in the US Constitution, gender discriminatory laws are subject to moderate scrutiny (substantially related to an important government interest), but if included, it is strict scrutiny (narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest).
I urge your readers to contact their legislators and demand these bills be voted upon this session. If it’s too late for their inclusion, urge their state legislator to aggressively advocate for these bills in the next session.
Full protection for equal treatment under the law on the basis of sex is not a partisan issue. It only takes a few minutes to call Senator Limmer and Representatives Smith and Peppin to say you stand for equal protection under the law for your daughters, sisters, mothers and, spouses and that you expect them to do the same.
Michael Vogel, J.D.