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March 02, 2009

Support for ERA in Kansas

Kansas is debating whether to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the Kansas Constitution (2/26, Local).

The opposition is trying to frame the debate by making the slippery-slope and fear arguments. They make the usual charges of abortion conspiracy, that it will invalidate rape laws, and that it would d be a pathway to gay marriage. Beyond the fact that these arguments are absurd, one must only look to the 22 states that have ERAs to know the claims are ridiculous.

Many states with ERAs have stricter abortion laws, and Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania courts have held that their ERAs do not allow for any change to abortion provisions existing in their states. The 22 ERA states all have laws against rape, and we already have an anti-gay marriage amendment.

When all fear and smear are debunked, the ERA is simply a collective constitutional commitment. It incorporates into the Constitution the prohibition of sex discrimination. While there are federal and state laws that address sex discrimination, it’s not the same as a constitutional commitment. Laws can be repealed and revoked at any time.

Support the ERA.

Marla Patrick
State Coordinator, Kansas National Organization for Women
Lindsborg, Kan.



"What about equal rights for men and fathers?"

Any equal rights amendment prohibits gender-based discrimination. Near as I can tell, "male" is still a gender.


What about equal rights for men and fathers?

Stifled Freedom

And laws can NOT be upheld by the courts....which has been the biggest enemy of all our rights since the country was founded.

For example, slavery was upheld by the Supreme Court at one time. So was segregation. In 1942, thousands of Japanese American citizens were imprisoned because of race.....and we had the same constitution that spoke of equality then as now, but they did it anyway.

Or we could have extreme gender biasing in criminal sentences....which we already have in favor of women.

I think, if anything, men need equal rights protections. Women have it all in this country nowadays.

I guess if we have an equal rights amendment, women might actually end up loosing, but that wont happen and they know that.


The letter writer's claim that passing an ERA will not become the equivalent of a right to gay marriage is either disingenuous or dishonest. Other states' ERAs have served as the legal basis for activist courts to declare just that. I do not know how a court would interpret the possible conflict between an ERA and the existing amendment concerning heterosexual marriages, but there is no good reason to take that risk.


It's already illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender. A "new" ERA doesn't change that either way. As such, there is nothing "necessary" about the bill.

It seems to be more about the remnants of the 60's feminist movement who see this (no matter how necessary or not) as a piece of unfinished business. I guess the opposite is true as well. I can't understand the opposition to an amendment that, in practice, changes nothing.


I understand the concern that woman are not being treated fairly in many aspects of life, but I fail to see how there is a need to state an already obvious fact of equality by means of an amendment. There is something wrong about constantly desiring to add to constitutions.

No matter how it is worded, it will be perceived as a special protection for women.


The Link does not make it clear just what rights are now supposedly unequal. In family/divorce law, the system seems to lean toward the feminine side.

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