Why I Am Opposed to the Era

The Equal Rights Amendment on which Mrs. Camping writes is as follows:

Sec. 1 Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United Slates or by any state on account of sex.

See. 2 The Congress shall have the power to enforce. by appropriate legislation the provisions of this article.

Sec. 3 This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

The ERA needs the ratification of 38 States to go into effect. The amendment will die if this has not been achieved by 1979.

Mrs. Camping is a member of the Phoenix (Arizona) Christian Reformed Church and has been a resident of Arizona for 30 years. She is a widow with six grown children and three grandchildren. She has served two terms in the Arizona State Senate and is active in several conservative organizations.

Forty years before Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, discussion on the issue was limited to equal pay for equal work, and equal opportunity. These were goals that everyone, including myself and other women legislators in our state, readily found justifiable. Legislation has since been enacted in various states to eliminate such discriminations, so the movement has brought some good changes. Ironically, the area of job discrimination which caused the greatest concern—equal pay for equal work—would not be affected by passage of the ERA because this area is already covered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Because the original intent of the amendment was supposed to be beneficial, many sincere woman and worthy organizations supported ERA. However, radical feminists saw an opportunity to realize their ambitions through such a simple amendment and rallied their support behind the ERA. Congressmen, attempting to modify the language and clarify the bill, were unable to be heard above the hue and cry of the extremist leaders. These women are pushing for ratification for their own reasons; they want a “uni-sex” society. Mrs. Lucy Komisar, former vice-president of National Organization for Women, summed it up in a statement recently, “The feminist movement will be more significant than any social upheaval that has occurred in the history of civilization. It will alter the basic relationship between men and women in our society.”

What has brought the wives and mothers of America out to hearings and meetings before legislatures in every state to oppose the ERA? Opposition is simple: we dont want what the libbers want for us.


The ERA makes no exemptions or exclusions for different treatment of the two sexes. Equality would be absolute, total, unalterable for all time. What is good or bad for one sex is legally good or bad for the other, and lawmakers would not be allowed to distinguish between the two on any matter. That is why the amendment is so disastrous.

There are laws that give preference by race, by providing special consideration to minority groups: laws giving preference by age, not allowing 16-year olds to vote or 50-year olds to collect Social Security: considerations given by class, through programs for low-income groups. But sex would be the only category in which preference, or added burdens, could not be given by elected representatives, within the limitations of the U.S. Constitution.

Effects of the ERA would be awesome. It would provide equality—a doctrinaire equality. Advocates say they want all the added burdens and responsibilities of men, but the majority of women have no desire to relinquish the protections they have fought for, won, and now enjoy under our jurisprudence.

There are two areas causing great concern among women who learn about the proposed amendment. The draft under the ERA would require women to be recruited, trained and serve in combat equally as men. Mothers could be excluded only if fathers were. For those who quip “the draft is abolished,” be aware that under wraps in Washington for 1976 is a brief registration period of 3–5 days for all males who reach age 18 this year. According to one columnist, “the dates in 1976 are still a secret but any who miss this brief registration period will be in trouble with the law.” The Selective Service has added 400 new people on its employment roster and increased its budget by $6 million in 1975.

The second concern for women is loss of financial support by her husband, because under ERA husband and wife would be equally responsible for supporting their family. In the traditional marriage, the father would continue financial support, but the wife, without a job or income. would be denied credit cards and Social Security benefits. Congress-woman Martha Griffiths has stated, “The ERA would not permit men and women to be treated differently under Social Security.” A possible suggestion from Sylvia Porter would be to have the husband pay double S.S. taxes. As the wife’s “employer,” he would pay the 8.5% and the wife pay the other 8.5%. Husbands would pay according to the value of their wives, using a “house wife worth” scale provided by the federal government.

Besides mass confusion and a mound of paperwork, another negative result of all this will be forcing women out of the home (a wife will not be able to afford to stay at home) and into an already crowded job market. Without the attention of a contented mother, juvenile delinquency is certain to rise. Who will care for the toddlers? The government is way ahead of us with day-care centers, as outlined in the goals set by the National Organization for Women.

Of grave concern to both sexes, and especially to those involved in state government, is section two of the amendment, which states, “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” This means a loss of local control: states’ rights, if you recall that term, will be usurped by federal mandate. Proponents argue that all Constitutional amendments have such a provision. Furthermore, past amendments deal with specific issues, such as voting and taxes. These terms are easily defined. But, “equality of rights” is not defined in the amendment, leaving a broad area open for interpretation—and misinterpretation—all to be handled at the federal level by our presently overburdened courts.

Other areas would undergo a change, including elimination of single-sex schools, loss of protective labor laws for women, destruction of tax exempt status of churches unless the church government coincides with federal rules, elimination of all laws on abortion and homosexuality, and the prohibition of segregation in public facilities. The right to privacy law, which proponents constantly refer to, refers only to the privacy between husband and wife handed down by the court in the Griswold vs. Connecticut case.

Some examples of ERA integration are: Colorado, where a resolution was passed to remodel the restrooms in the House of Representatives to allow jOint lise by oath sexes; Washington, they can no longer build segregated dormitories on the basis of sex because a bill allowing segregation by sex at colleges and universities was declared unconstitutional under EHA at the state level; Massachusetts, the Framingham Correctional Institution has integrated the inmates, with birth-control devices and abortions made available to those who need them. 1s the ERA needed? Obviously, there may be some laws in various states which are discriminatory and unreasonable. These can be changed by specific legislation, at the local level, just as legislators and responsible citizens work to change other injustices. Why arent the vocal ERA advocates working towards these specific goals which would eliminate the problem immediately, instead of waiting two years for the ERA to take effect after ratification? Because their interest lies not in alleviating present injustices against women but in procuring a firm policy statement, in cement, that women must have equal rights with men, and men with women, without regard to our God-given differences.

The media, feminists, federal government, President and Betty Ford are all working overtime for the ratification of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. Along with money from women’s groups such as NOW, Business and Professional Women, and the Women‘s Political Caucus, the movement is being financed by all of us through our tax dollars. The Commission on the Status of Women, tax-funded in each state, is supporting the amendment, and the Commission on International Women’s Year received $50,000 from the State Department and $125,000 from Health, Education and Welfare.

However, in our state, Christian women took a stand and communicated by phone, letters, and personal visits with their legislators and defeated the ERA. This happened the same year that the Women‘s Political Caucus proudly seated five of their members in our State Senate to insure passage of the amendment. Some male members who formerly supported the ERA changed their vote when hit with an avalanche of opposition.

The majority of women, until educated in the negative aspects of ERA, support the amendment due to the erroneous belief that it affects only working women. Sadly enough it is the devoted homemaker who will be most adversely affected by it.

The ERA is not a political issue; it is a moral issue. The very foundation of our nation, the family, will be destroyed. God‘s Word states that men and women are different. In Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” They are different, not only in a physical way, but as the whole man and the whole woman, each with their own identity and purpose. Again, in Genesis 2 we read that God made a helper for Adam, a wife, Eve; not to compete with Adam but to complement him. Regardless of where contemporary man places women, the ew Testament has mandated a basis for the family structure. Paul is very explicit in Ephesians 5:22, 25, and Peter stresses the distinctive roles of husband and wife in I Peter 3:1. There is a consistency throughout Scripture regarding the Godgiven distinctions between man and woman. The ERA, I believe, strikes at the very heart of God’s creation—man, woman and family. Do we want to take away the right of a woman to be a woman?

If the ERA becomes part of our Constitution, we may all join Senator Sam Ervin in concluding his speech on the Senate floor, stating, “Some of us may well get down on our knees and pray, ‘Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.’”