Minnesota: Think you’ve got equality? Think again…

BettyJean Kling

Did you know the Federal Amendment to guarantee women equal rights under the US Constitution was defeated in 1982?

Did you know Minnesota has never been able to get an amendment to our state Constitution put to the people of Minnesota?

Don’t you think it is about time the rights of over half of our population are secured into our state law?

Now is the time for Minnesota to support the campaign to pass a constitutional amendment for gender equality to our Constitution.

WHY do we still need a state & federal ERA?

  • Neither the Minnesota Constitution nor the U.S. Constitution explicitly guarantees that all of the rights they protect are held by all of its citizens without regard to sex.
    • Polling shows 75% of Americans assume women have full equality, while 91% believe women should have full equality under the Constitution.
    • An ERA would set a stricter judicial standard of review for deciding cases of sex discrimination.
    • Court decisions still reflect confusion and inconsistency about how the law is to deal with sex discrimination claims.
  • We need to protect ourselves from a rollback of the significant advances in women’s rights over the past 40 years.
    • The legislature has the power to replace existing laws by a majority vote, and judicial precedents can be eroded or ignored by reactionary courts responding to a conservative political agenda.
    • Example: The Lilly Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Supreme Court decision erased 20 years of legal precedent in employment law regarding equal pay.
    • Our many legal protections (Title VII, Title IX, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Equal Pay Act), are statutes only and statutes can be overturned by a simple majority or by a conservative court.
  • The United States needs to practice what it preaches with respect to equal justice under the law.
    • Many other countries – including Iraq, Japan, and all the emerging nations since the 1970’s – specifically affirm legal equality of the sexes in their governing documents. Why don’t we?
    • CEDAW (the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) has been ratified by all but 7 countries in the world: the U.S is in the company of Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT! We need to secure the progress we’ve made by enacting this into the bedrock of Minnesota’s democracy.

  • For the first time in 28 years, we HAVE a Minnesota Legislature that could pass this legislation and put it directly to the people to decide.

Minnesota values women. Minnesota supports gender equality.


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