Does Schlafley Play Chess?If Phyllis Schlafley doesn't play chess perhaps she should. She certainly thinks like a chess player. The key to success at the game of kings is to think several moves ahead. To see the ramifications of your moves and the future opportunities for both you and your adversary.
When Schlafley opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970's and early 80's she knew what she was doing. The primary reason anyone should oppose legislation as ridiculous as the ERA is it's redundancy. "The fact is that women already enjoy every constitutional right that men enjoy and have enjoyed equal employment opportunity since 1964," she said.
You see the ERA is not necessary to protect women's rights. As Emily Procter's "The West Wing" character, Ainsley Hayes, put it in one episode, "It’s redundant. I’ve got the 14th Amendment … which says that … no citizen can be denied due process. I’m covered. Make a law for somebody else. [It's]humiliating! A new amendment we vote on, declaring that I am equal under the law to a man. I am mortified to discover there’s reason to believe I wasn’t before. I am a citizen of this country. I am not a special subset in need of your protection. I do not have to have to have my rights handed down to me by a bunch of old, white men. The same Article 14 that protects you, protects me. And I went to law school just to make sure."
But the ERA isn't about equal rights for women and Schlafley knew it. "ERA would put 'gay rights' into the U.S. Constitution because the word in the amendment is 'sex,' not 'women.' Eminent authorities have stated that ERA would legalize the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and generally implement the gay and lesbian agenda." And she was right. In 1993 Hawaii's supreme court was the first to rule that its state ERA mandated same-sex "marriage" and in 2006 a Massachusetts court struck down that state's ban citing its ERA.
Worse than these examples, in 1998 the New Mexico Supreme Court declared that state's refusal to fund elective abortions was a violation of the state ERA. The court mandated that the state pay for all so-called "medically necessary" abortions. In the abortion movement's Newspeak, "medically necessary" is an innocuous term meaning simply that the abortion was performed by a licensed professional. Therefore the court requires the state to pay for abortion on demand.
Schlafley's prescience is important, not just in terms of historical accuracy, but because the ERA refuses to die. In fact ERA language was first presented to Congress in 1923 (after Alice Paul introduced it at that year's "Women's Rights Convention") and has been reintroduced in every session of Congress since.
Ultimately, conservative's most persuasive opposition to the ERA has nothing to do with marriage or abortion. Back to "The West Wing" - "Every time the federal government hands down a new law, it leaves for the rest of us a little less freedom. So I say, let’s just stick to the ones we absolutely need in order to have water come out of the faucet and our cars not stolen."
¶ Wednesday, February 08, 2006