Cross posted by Bettyjean Kling from http://joliejustus.blogspot.com/
Jolie Justice is MO State Senator 10th District
The Senate Rules Committee today heard testimony both for and against SCR 3, a resolution calling on the Missouri General Assembly to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
This is the third year in a row I have sponsored the resolution and I wish I could say I am surprised by the intense opposition, but not much surprises me anymore.
We didn’t get enough notice for the hearing to get a large number of witnesses to testify in favor of the legislation. Fortunately, two brave women came to town to testify and I truly appreciate their support.
Although the ERA seems like a no-brainer for the majority of Americans, there were several people on hand to testify against the bill. These organizations all have full-time lobbyists in the capitol, so they were not affected by the short notice. The following groups testified against equal rights for women: Concerned Women for America, Missouri Family Network, Eagle Forum, Missouri RoundTable for Life, Missourians United for Life and Missouri Right to Life.
This is the same group of folks who testify against the ERA every year. They list a parade of horribles that will alledgedly occur if gender equality is added to the Constitution including legalized gay marriage, state-funded abortion and mandatory unisex bathrooms. This year their testimony was limited to the abortion issue, which in my opinion is completely unfounded. Missouri has gender equality in its Constitution and I haven’t seen any lack of abortion regulations passed in this state.
The silliest line of questioning came from Senator Gary Nodler (R-Joplin) who asked whether ratifying the ERA would require the government to spend equal sums on money for ovarian cancer research in both women and men, even though men don’t have ovaries. He asked the same question about women and testicular cancer. I provided an intelligent and accurate response regarding how a court would handle such an absurd case at which point he cut me off with a preposterous rant that started with a reference to the “pregnant man” and ended with the Senator bashing the competence and integrity of judges.
Despite all that, I felt good about today’s hearing. I put forth a commonsense argument that the majority of Americans agree with. The opposition relied on their old standbys — fear and hate — and made no logical argument for defeating the resolution.
In the end I know the Senate will not pass the resolution. I will introduce it again next year and we will go through this circus again and again until we have a legislature that is committed to simple concepts like equality. It took 144 years to secure the right for women to vote. We’ve only been working on ratification of the ERA for 37 years. If we can’t get it done, our daughters will pick up the fight when we are gone.
If you feel passionately about this issue, I would encourage you to contact the members of the Senate Rules Committee and urge them to pass the resolution out of committee, so we can have a full debate on the Senate floor.