The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution intended to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex, and thereby end legal distinctions between men and women which have disadvantaged women.
During the 1970s it seemed destined to pass, but was found to disadvantage women in important respects. Therefore, five states rescinded their approval.
Troubling questions remain: how can we keep separate public restrooms, locker rooms, bathrooms and sports competitions for the sexes without violating that proposed amendment? I know no girls or women who want boys or men in those places; the only exception is for young boys with their caretakers in the women’s restroom. Although feminists assured us that integrating our armed forces would pose no problems, reports of sexual assaults against women at the service academies and on the job are increasing – at all ranks, including the highest.
New problems have appeared. Male athletes identifying as females have entered competitions for females and, not surprisingly, won. Although identifying as females, they retain their male skeletal and muscular structures which render them stronger and faster than even well trained female athletes. Disadvantaged females, unable to win in direct competition with them, forfeit opportunities they have earned for recognition and prizes, including scholarships, etc.
For example, biological males who identify as transgender girls continue to dominate high school girls track in Connecticut. Two Juniors took first and second place in the state open indoor track championships on Feb. 16, 2019. One is the third fastest runner in the country in the girls’ 55-meter dash. The other is tied for seventh nationally. As sophomores in 2018. both also easily outpaced female runners in the state.
One of their competitors, a high school junior, said it was unfair to force female runners to compete against male runners. “We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing,” said the Junior. “I fully support and am happy for these athletes for being true to themselves. They should have the right to express themselves in school, but athletics have always had extra rules to keep the competition fair.”
How can fairness for girls/women’s sports competitions be ensured? This unsolved problem faces us without the ERA’s passage. Under the ERA, female athletes will have no hope of legal protection from such competitors.
Women in shelters, many being victims of domestic violence and rape, do not want men there. Will single sex shelters be available after ERA’s passage? Our elected state legislators have not provided solutions to these difficulties.
Women have assumed many additional roles and entered many more fields in the last forty years without the ERA. What legal ill can be solved only by passage of the ERA? If there is none, and passage will result in foreseen difficulties which have no viable solutions, passing the ERA is irresponsible.
Ellen Latane Tabb