Adding an ERA to the Minnesota Constitution
Our goal is to get an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) on the Minnesota ballot for the November 6, 2018 election, because assumed equality is not enough. The amendment reads "Equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender."
ERA Minnesota Campaign
How to Amend the Constitution - Simplified:
*Committees for MN Equal Rights Amendment:
FYI: Simple Majority vs Majority
Scroll down to the end to learn more about amending the constitution.
The 2018 Bills:
The amendment has been put forth three times -- so that more authors can sign on (there are limits to how many authors can be on a bill) and bring more attention to the issue.
Senate File (SF) 224 & House File (HF) 189 - A state constitutional amendment providing gender equality under the law with chief author State Senator Richard Cohen and the companion bill with chief author State Representative Ilhan Omar.
Senate File (SF) 101 & House File (HF) 313 - A state constitutional amendment providing gender equality under the law with chief author State Senator Scott Dibble and the companion bill with chief author State Representative Frank Hornstein.
Senate File (SF) 2827 & House File (HF) 3257 - A state constitutional amendment providing gender equality under the law with chief author State Senator Jeff Hayden and the companion bill with chief author State Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein.
Committees & Their Members
We must sit in on these committees to show there is citizen support for the ERA bills.
House Civil Law & Data Practices
(meets Tues & Thurs @ 8:15 am - basement hearing room)
House Government Operations & Elections
(meets Tues., Wed., Thurs @ 10:15 am in basement hearing room)
Senate Judiciary & Public Safety
(Meets Mon, Tues, Wed @ 1:00 -2:30 pm in Senate Building, room 1100)
To learn more about issues and concerns about the ERA click on a question below.
Q: HOW WOULD ERA AFFECT ROE V WADE?
A: This case was decided on the constitutional right to privacy under the due process clause of Article XIX of the U.S. Constitution and not on equality - which is a civil rights issue. Passage and ratification of the ERA will have no effect on the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision.
Q: THE 14TH AMENDMENT, THE EQUALITY AMENDMENT, ALREADY PROVIDES EQUALITY, isn't that enough?
A: Section 2 of the 14th Amendment specifically includes the wording male citizen and male inhabitant 3 times and is very gender specific in its applicability to males. Female citizens and female inhabitants are not mentioned. A constitutional amendment (the Equal Rights Amendment) is needed to provide constitutionally protected gender equality for women.
FYI: If we had been protected under Article XIV (14) of the U.S. Constitution, then Article XIX - the 19th Amendment - providing women the right to vote – would not have been necessary.
Q: DON’T WE ALREADY HAVE ENOUGH LAWS FOR WOMEN?
A: We have laws that can be changed. Woman do not have guaranteed equal protection as men in our constitution -- and thus our country.
The Equal Rights Amendment would add strict judicial protection and enforcement to existing legislation. Those elements names in the constitution, i.e. religion, race, male citizens, and country of origin, receive “strict scrutiny” in courts of law; but protection of gender against discrimination is not specified in the constitution, and thereby only receives “intermediate scrutiny”; resulting in unequal justice for women and men.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte once stated when explaining why she voted against The Equal Pay Act, "The reason that I voted against that specific bill is that, I looked at it, and there were already existing laws that need to be enforced". Yet without the clear legal guidance provided by a Constitutional amendment, the incremental patchwork of laws addressing women, equal opportunity, and pay equity are "nails without a hammer".
Justice Scalia when asked why he voted against The Lilly Ledbetter Petition stated, "The Constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex, thus I was under no constitutional obligation to do so".
Q: Does having an ERA benefit Taxpapers?
A: Yes. Constitutionally guaranteed equality would reinforce existing laws and clarify women’s legal rights to economic and employment parity with men. When women are paid less for the same job as men, or are denied equal opportunities for advancement, it damages our economy and our community. For too long women have been treated as ‘cheap labor’, underpaid for equal work.
When women’s salaries have neither parity with men’s salaries nor opportunity for advancement, government safety net programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and reduced-cost lunch programs are needed to make up the slack in wages. Better pay would help reduce the need (costs) of these programs. Women deserve the same dignity as men when providing for their families - without having to rely on government assistance to backfill the wage gap.
Q: IS THE ERA A PARTISAN THING?
A: It shouldn't be. The Equal Rights Amendment has a long bipartisan history and bipartisanship must be the key to success of its final ratification.
Q: What is the complete text of the MN ERA?
A: Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender.
Q: What’s the History of the ERA?
A: The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced by the Republican Party and remained in the party platform until the 1980's. Presidents Ford and Nixon and their spouses vigorously supported ratifying The Equal Rights Amendment. Alice Paul, the author of the Equal Rights Amendment, was a Republican.
The 19th amendment & The Equal Rights Amendment - both written by Alice Paul and friends - have almost identical wording, with the substitution of only four words in the text: 19th Amendment reads The right to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex; versus the ERA Amendment reads Equality of rights shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on of account sex. The Equal Rights Amendment was intended to follow the 19th amendment, not languish for 93 years.
Over the years, resistance to constitutional gender equality has changed but has continued to mirror its generation’s perceptions:
Q: Will ERA affect Women in the Military?
A: Constitutionally protected gender equality would provide equal opportunity and redress to women bravely serving in the military. Currently women serve in combat positions – even without an equal rights clause in our constitution. Women can fight and die for their country but they do not have equal rights. One of the primary reasons for the ERA's failure in the 70's and early 80’s was never a legitimate concern - that women would be drafted.
Selective Service for women (The Draft): Congress has always had the right to draft women; passage of the ERA would not affect the draft.
Q: Would the ERA force religions to ordain women?
A: No. Passage of the ERA would not require religions to ordain women, as the constitution provides for the separation of church and state. Religious freedom would be unaffected by the ratification of the ERA religious hierarchies would continue to be able to exercise their authority over religious matters.
Religious liberty falls under separation of church and state; for example: some churches reserve the right to not marry divorced persons or couples who don't complete premarital counseling etc. These decisions of churches will remain unaffected by constitutional gender equality.
Q: Will women lose social security benefits?
A: No. The Widow benefit was converted to a survivor or spousal benefit (male or female) in the 1970s in anticipation of passage of the ERA, and it continues to be the standard to this day.
Q: Will the ERA cause unisex bathrooms?
A: Unisex bathrooms already exist at stores like Trader Joes, on airplanes, in many public buildings, restaurants, theatres, shopping centers, trains and bus stations - where single stall & family bathrooms are the norm. The ERA did not cause unisex bathrooms; they evolved over time as society found the necessity to provide them. This would not change with the passage of the ERA and is not a valid reason to deny constitutionally protected gender equality to the majority sex, as women are 52% of the U.S. population.