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ERA now needed to protect males

May 30, 2013
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eraNCFM NOTE: While written 12 years ago this article is as timely today as it was then — men need an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In fact, it’s more timely since things have gotten worse for men — much worse. Women now are more than half the work force. Women far exceed men entering and graduating from college. Women can now serve in combat positions in the military with no obligation to sign up for selective service or suffer the legal consequences for failing to register. Single professional women substantially out earn single professional men when similarly situated, the Pay Gap is simply a larger myth than it was 12 years ago. Recently  California freed thousands of female prisoners to satisfy over crowding and budgetary issues. No men with the similar or same backgrounds and sentences were so fortunate. Roughly 90% (estimates vary) of primary physical child custody awards made by various family courts go to the mother. Even Obamacare grants more medical services and care to women than men even though health insurance premiums will soon skyrocket for men, especially younger men, but fall for women who consume substantially more health dollars than do women. The disparate treatment of males gets worse every year as various legislatures gift more and more money to women oriented programs paid for primarily by men. These are not “unintended consequences,” but intentional outcomes. For those of you who question these facts I hope you don’t have sons. If you do have sons or other males in your life that you care about, and you sit still and do nothing on their behalf…umm, I hope you don’t have to attend their funerals at an early age. American males complete suicide four times more often than females too. No wonder, huh? What are you going to do about it?

ERA needed to help men

By ROBYN E. BLUMNER

Columnist and Editorial Writer Tampa Bay Times, 490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8695 blumner@tampabay.com . Former director of the ACLU in Florida.

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 22, 2001


It’s been 29 years since both houses of Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, a change to the Constitution to guarantee equal rights under the law regardless of sex. The amendment was never ratified. It came up three short of the 38 states needed for passage, with Florida being one of those rejecting the amendment.

It’s been 29 years since both houses of Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, a change to the Constitution to guarantee equal rights under the law regardless of sex. The amendment was never ratified. It came up three short of the 38 states needed for passage, with Florida being one of those rejecting the amendment.

Since then, quite a lot has changed for those of us with two X chromosomes.

Women now make up 46.6 percent of the work force, compared to 38.5 percent in 1972, with women constituting the majority of entering law students and college undergraduates. While in the early 1970s female voting patterns mirrored their husbands’, in the last presidential election there was a 22-percent gender gap. With 6-million more women living in the United States than men, that makes for a serious bloc of voters. Today there are two women justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, 61 women in the House of Representatives and 13 women senators. In 1972 the numbers were zero, 10 and one, respectively.

Despite the ERA‘s failure, the law retains no lingering anti-women bias of any consequence. That is, unless you count the pass women get from military service, such as not having to register for the selective service and their exclusion from combat-related duties.

Even private-sector sex discrimination is more relic than reality. The so-called pay gap, the “73 cents for every dollar a man makes,” one hears recited like a mantra by feminists and politicians, doesn’t exist. When true cohorts are compared — men and women with equal education, seniority, duties and hours — the pay gap shrinks to a couple of pennies.

So, is there anything tangible to be gained from U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass, reintroducing the ERA in Congress, as they did last month? Would the ERA, first offered by Alice Paul in 1923 at the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., give women today any greater equality under law?

No. Women no longer need the ERA, but men do.

The ERA is cast in gender-neutral language, protecting the legal equality of all people regardless of sex. In the same way the courts have been interpreting the 14th Amendment to strike down affirmative action programs, since the amendment bars the government from supporting benefits for one race of Americans over another, men could use the ERA to take aim at pro-women laws and programs that exclude them.

In California, for example, the Department of Corrections has two programs for female non-violent felons to live in community-based housing with their young children. No similar program is available to male inmates.

On its Web site, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, a division of the department devoted to women and work, proudly boasts of the more than $900,000 in grants made last year to establish apprenticeship programs to recruit women into non-traditional occupations, such as construction and the skilled trades. It’s one of numerous departmental initiatives for women only.

In 1994 Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, federal legislation that made domestic violence an issue of gender bias. Parts of the law were later set aside by the U.S. Supreme Court as beyond the scope of Congress’ power to enact, but what should have sunk the measure was its blatant sexism. The congressional findings supporting the need for the law were a litany of the harms men do to the women with no mention of the significant number of men who are also victims of domestic abuse and crimes of violence.

While African-Americans have to worry about DWB: Driving While Black, men have to worry about PWM: Parenting While Male. Ask divorced fathers’ groups how the system is stacked against men who want to play an equal role in their children’s nurturing. They say that due to a stubbornly persistent presumption that a mother’s claim on her children is stronger than a father’s, the country’s family courts want men to provide support and get out of the way.

The ERA would make protection against government-sponsored sex discrimination a fundamental right. Any law, program or court practice intended to benefit women over men would be subject to strict scrutiny and likely eliminated. No more could women-owned businesses gain a preference in government contracting; no more could there be loosened physical-fitness standards for women in the military; no more could a father be treated as the lesser parent. The Constitution would be there to enforce sex-blind treatment.

Rep. Maloney and Sen. Kennedy are right. It’s time to reintroduce the ERA. The men of this country have a right to be treated equally under law. They’ve been told “women and children first” long enough.

Republished under the Fair Use Doctrine.

equal rights amendmentMen need an ERA. What’s wrong with that? Are  there  no males in your life who you love?

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