By BettyJean Downing on behalf of Carolyn Cook of United4Equality
Please ask friends and family to mail a copy of this letter with their name and address to the White House. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, it’s time for equality and justice for All Americans.
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Re: Moving America Forward By Executive Order: Remove Any Deadline for Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment
Dear Mr. President:
If over half of all Americans are considered second-class citizens without the assurance of equal treatment, responsibility and opportunity under the US Constitution, how can the US claim to be the “Leader of the Free World?”
What is the legacy you plan to leave America now that Republicans control the House and Senate? Through adversity comes opportunity.
What about jump-starting the Equal Rights Amendment by Executive Order that removes any deadline for its ratification? It is for the President to use his authority by Executive Order to eliminate Congress’s arbitrary and unconstitutional deadline and allow the process to continue as it should have all along.
Women are the unsung heroines as partners, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and grandmothers. Women’s unpaid labor significantly contributes to our GDP without compensation, health insurance, vacation, or Social Security. Women make up more than half of our workforce and women-owned small businesses are expect to be 1/3 of all new job creators by 2018! It’s no wonder that there is a correlation between the welfare of society and the status of women.
While non-profits serve a vital function by addressing the immediate needs of the underserved, they cannot enact public policies on behalf of the general welfare of our nation as the Executive and Legislative branches can.
At what point will the your Administration gather up all of the studies and testimonials and take action?
• The White House Council on Women and Girls Report,
• “Women In America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-being”;
• The 600-page “Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink”;
• The State of Women in America: A 50-State Analysis of How Women Are Faring Across the Nation;
• Many Congressional hearings about women’s health, pay, poverty, sexual assault and domestic violence.
We need action that addresses the structural flaw in our founding document: the absence of women and girls as people.
As a former constitutional law professor, you must see the need to update our Constitution to include Women and Girls. Laws cannot protect the rights of citizens whose rights are not protected under the US Constitution. The Constitution guides law. Laws influence behavior. Behavior influences custom. Custom influences culture. Culture influences progress.
Americans revere the bold leadership that President Lincoln demonstrated when he abolished slavery by Executive Order during wartime. His vision was later reinforced by the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments granting freedom, citizenship, equal protection, and suffrage to all men.
Imagine our society today without the protections of the 14th Amendment.
Envision all of America’s daughters who have continued without that protection since 1868. The ERA is the equivalent of the 14th Amendment for All Women. If Lincoln could abolish slavery by executive order, could not President Obama help women achieve Equal Rights with an executive order?
Centuries of entrenched sex discrimination reinforced by law and custom will not disappear overnight. Slavery didn’t either, but we must begin somewhere. America must return to the very foundation of society to repair the structural flaw that excludes Malia and Sasha on account of being born female. As adults we owe History a repair of this oversight.
Immediate action is required to set the stage for the next Congressional session for equal rights.
Amending our Constitution doesn’t cost a dime, but it’s worth its weight in gold. On behalf of all Americans, we urge your official, public endorsement by Executive Order to mirror the intent of landmark legislation introduced by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) to rescue the ERA from its congressionally-imposed political exile and give it your blessing towards victory. It was the Democratic Party led by Senator Sam Irvin (D-NC) that insisted on the deadline for ERA in 1972 and it is proper that the Democratic Party undo this harmful action now.
Human rights do not expire in our democracy, do they, Mr. President? Therefore, the path to achieve the basic human right of Equality for all human beings must exist in perpetuity with no deadline for personhood. Our goal is to set the ERA back on course to victory in three states in 2015 and end the human rights abuses of women and girls worldwide. It starts with Removing the Deadline for Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
For more information: See http://www.United4Equality.com
Thank you for your consideration.