Thursday, May 31, 2018

IL Approves Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed Amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee Equal Legal Rights for all American Citizens regardless of Sex. It seeks to end the Legal Distinctions between Men and Women in terms of Divorce, Property, Employment, and other matters. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman. The Amendment was introduced in Congress for the first time in 1921 and has prompted Conversations about the meaning of Legal Equality for Women and Men ever since.

On Wednesday, May 30th, 2018, the Illinois State House voted to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment more than 45 years after it was Approved by Congress, putting it One State away from possible Enshrinement in the U.S. Constitution amid potential Legal Questions. The 72-45 Vote by the House, following an April Vote by the Senate.

It does not need the approval of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has said he supports Equal Rights but was faulted by Democrats for not taking a position on the ERA. "I am appalled and embarrassed that the state of Illinois has not done this earlier," said Democratic Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-84th District, Oswego), a Marine veteran. "I am proud to be on this side of history and I am proud to support not only all the women that this will help, that this will send a message to, but I am also here to be a role model for my daughter."

Helping to propel momentum for the measure was a Resurgence in Activism for Women's Rights amid National Demands to root out Sexual Discrimination and Harassment in American Culture in response to the #MeToo Movement. As has been the case for decades, the Legislative Debate over the Equal Rights Amendment was fraught with controversy.

Opponents largely contended the Measure was aimed at ensuring an expansion of Abortion Rights for Women. Supporters said it was needed to give Women Equal Standing in the Nation's Founding Document. Opponents also contended the Measure may be Moot, since its original 1982 Ratification Deadline has long since Expired. Supporters argued, however, that the 1992 Ratification of the 1789 "Madison Amendment," preventing Midterm Changes in Congressional Pay, makes the ERA a Legally Viable Change to the Constitution.

State Rep. Peter Breen (R-48th District, Lombard), an Abortion Rights Opponent, called the Measure "an alleged constitutional amendment" and warned it would be adopting an "illegal act." But Breen also contended Supporters "have no other thing they want to do" than expand Abortion Rights. "It will expand taxpayer funding of abortions, very well might roll back our parental notice (for minors to have an abortion) law and have other negative impacts on various abortion regulations," Breen said.

But State Rep. Steve Andersson (R-65th District, Geneva), said the Measure "isn't about those distractions." "This is about who we are as a people. This is about who we believe the state of Illinois is and should be, going forward," he said. "But it's more than just the state of Illinois. It's about the United States of America and quite frankly, I believe it's about the planet. I believe it's about how we treat women and men."

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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