The Equal Rights Amendment: What It Means for Delaware
DFPC's position has been in opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment (HB1).

Women already have equal rights under the law. Delaware has been without an ERA for 47 years since it was first introduced. Women have accomplished an amazing amount without an ERA. Women and men are already equal and protected in our Constitution and our laws. 

Then what does the ERA do?
What is the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)?
The ERA is a bill (HB1) to change (amend) the Delaware State Constitution to include the words "Equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex." 

Amending the state Constitution means these 15 words are given the highest authority (the legal terms is "scrutiny") possible under law. 

The question is, what do these words really mean? The public hearings and debates last year revealed that these words are vague on purpose. Turns out that the ERA doesn't solve any problems in Delaware. 

What right does the ERA give women that we don't already have?  

NONE. It's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

Then why? 

Why is the ERA being resurrected now after more than 35 years?
The Controversial History of the ERA
Over 70 years ago, the original framers and supporters of the ERA lived during a time when women were not granted the same opportunities as men, or paid equally for equal work.

That's not the case today. 

Delaware law already can and does demand that a man and a woman who perform the same task with equal skill, with the same background and experience, merit equal wages (Simply google "Equal pay, Delaware"). 

It's pretty safe to say that the original framers of the ERA never contemplated the days when all one had to do to be a woman is "identify" as one. They were not fighting boys winning medals in girls’ sports competitions, or men having access to the same restrooms and showers as women in the name of "prohibiting gender discrimination". 

It's also pretty safe to say that the original framers of the ERA did not foresee women marching with symbols of female genitalia on their heads, demanding their right to abortion at any time, for any reason, and paid for by taxpayers!

In summary, here are the top reasons why the ERA will hurt women. 
1) "Sex" is not defined
The language of the ERA dates back to the suffragist leaders of the 1920s who held to the age-old understanding of “sex” as meaning biological men and biological women. However, this age-old understanding is being challenged today.
 
Things change. Remember how fast the definition of marriage changed and the words husband and wife removed from our state code and replaced by "spouse"? 

If biological males could be defined as women under this proposed amendment, such an interpretation could undermine women’s equality in athletics and education, as well as threaten their right to privacy. 
This ERA today, is NOT your grandmother's ERA! Send this link to your legislators: 

https://bit.ly/2VGY3KN

Until recently, it was undisputed that “sex” referred to the objective biological categories of male and female, and that equality based on sex meant that women should be treated equal to men under the law. 

In the last several years, there have been attempts to redefine the meaning of “sex” under the law at both the state and federal level. For example, the Obama Administration unlawfully construed the word “sex” in federal statutes to include “gender identity” and “sexual orientation,” and some state Civil Rights Commissions have attempted to do the same thing. 

While this attempt to redefine what sex means to include self-perceived identities rather than one’s biological sex poses a variety of concerns. It particularly would harm women, and undermine the very purpose of this proposed amendment.  

If Delaware Legislators insist on doing something as major and permanent as amending the state Constitution, don't you think women deserve to have the definition of sex to mean "biological sex at birth"? 
2) The ERA Hurts Women Because It Promotes Gender Sameness Instead of Celebrating The Uniqueness of Women
The language of the ERA in fact rejects the differences between women and men, by declaring a “sameness” of men and women. 

“Equality” and “sameness” are not synonymous. Embracing diversity means recognizing and appreciating our differences, rather than pretending there are none.  

Recognition of the differences between men and women is not discrimination. It is an honest appreciation of fact. 

Men and women are distinct. Ignoring it, running from it, or passing some overly broad statement of “sameness” does not move us to more equal ground.  

Therefore, a state ERA strips away from women their unique place in the law because there will be no more preference to women to meet their specific needs. The ERA has proven to be particularly harming to stay-at-home spouses.

“…[I]t could relieve the fathers of the primary responsibility for the support of even infant children, as well as the support of the mothers of such children…” (U.S. House Judiciary Committee Report (No. 92-359, July 14, 1971). 
3) A Vote For The ERA Is a Vote For Abortion
It's true.

WHY is the ERA being resurrected now after more than 35 years? And, WHO is resurrecting it?
 
It's radical feminists, nationally (#MeToo, Women's March, Black Lives Matter) and locally. 

Their unifying cause is abortion without limits at any time (what they call "reproductive rights, and "women's healthcare"). 

The issue today is not the absence of laws protecting women; the issue is a radical agenda of protecting abortion with new, constitutional cover.
 
Not only will real protections for women be overwritten by this heavy-handed measure, the most profound change will be creating a constitutional foothold for abortion.

A right to abortion based on an Equal Rights Amendment wouldn’t be about the abortion procedure itself. It would be justified by women’s ability to live equally as full citizens under the law. 

Trusted and proven Constitutional attorneys analyzed Delaware's ERA bill (HB1) and identified this major concern:  In Section 1 of the bill, paragraph 5 states that “[a] declaration of rights carries with it the promise that the State of Delaware will not impair a person’s opportunity to exercise those rights; it does not require the State to fund the exercise of those rights.” 

According to this language, this ERA in its current form could create a state constitutional right to abortion.
4) The Stated Intent of the ERA is Not Enforceable. 
"Stated Intent" or the written purpose of a bill does not necessarily mean a bill will be interpreted for that purpose. Words can be manipulated. Clarification is necessary.
More Resources:
CONNECT
302.296.8698
Delaware Family Policy Council
P.0. Box 925
Seaford, DE 19973
info@delawarefamilies.org
FOLLOW
© 2019 Delaware Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.