Arizona House recesses rather than debate the Equal Rights Amendment

I posed the question the other day, Illinois Senate takes up the ERA today, whither Arizona?

Now we know the answer.

In the same way that our authoritarian Tea-Publican legislature has sought to shut down the voice of Arizona citizens by rendering their constitutional right to citizens initiatives an impossibility through a byzantine set of new rules, the same authoritarian Tea-Publican legislators shut down the voice of Democratic minority legislators who represent over 40 percent of the voters in Arizona.

Rep. Pamela Powers-Hannley (D-Tucson) complained during legislative floor action on Thursday that her bill to put Arizona on record in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment never even got a committee hearing. So she made a motion that the measure be brought to the full House for an immediate vote. GOP lawmakers stymie bid to vote on Equal Rights Amendment (Arizona Capitol Times):

The maneuver, which is legal under House rules, caught GOP leaders by surprise.

But rather than simply allowing a vote on her motion, Speaker J.D. Mesnard made a procedural motion to instead have the House recess. That was approved along party lines, denying Democrats the vote they sought — and effectively keeping Republicans from having to go on the record on whether they support or oppose the amendment.

* * *

A parade of Democrat lawmakers urged colleagues in the Republican-controlled House to quash the motion to recess and allow a vote.

Speaker Mesnard, seeking political cover for fellow Republicans, said no one should take a vote in favor of recess – essentially a vote to table the issue – as a vote against the Equal Rights Amendment. Instead, he argued, it should be seen as a vote to block Powers Hannley from bypassing the normal process [in which the Speaker assigns bills he does not want heard to committee chairs he knows will file the bill in their desk drawer, where it will never be seen or heard again. Hence the House rule that Powers-Hannley used to bring the bill to the floor.]

That’s true. The process would have been to have a hearing in the House Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety to which Mesnard had the bill assigned [and where he knew the bill would never be heard. See how this works?]

Mesnard did not dispute that he knew that Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, who chairs that panel, was unlikely to give it a hearing.

Farnsworth said he’s not against the concept of equal rights.

“I have seven daughters,” he said. But Farnsworth argued that state law already prohibits discrimination based on gender.

Only in the terms of employment, housing and public accommodations under the Arizona Civil Rights Act. It is not a constitutional right guaranteed by either the U.S. or the Arizona Constitution, something that all males in this country simply take for granted.

“What are we fixing?” he asked.

That fix, according to Powers Hannley, is that women are still, on average, being paid less than men, even as women are moving into the same kinds of jobs that men traditionally have held.

Farnsworth, however, said the measure may have “unintended consequences,” including the possibility that women would be subject to the draft if it is reinstated.

This lazy argument has been around since Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum first opposed the ERA in 1972. It was bullshit then, and it remains bullshit now. It is a knee-jerk response that has been drilled into opponents of the ERA

Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said debate would be irrelevant. He argued that the time for ratifying the amendment expired in 1982.

Another lazy argument. See my earlier post.

But Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix, correctly said there is nothing in the amendment itself that has a time limit.

* * *

“Do you want to go home and tell your daughters and granddaughters that you preferred to take a recess than actually have the opportunity to be leading and continuing to lead the state of Arizona?” asked Rep. Isela Blanc, D-Tempe.

But Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, would not be pushed into having to make a decision.

“This is an issue I need to study more on,” said Townsend who was 4 years old when the amendment was introduced.

So you’re telling me that you have never seriously thought about equal rights for women during your entire lifetime? Wow.

On one hand, Townsend said she no more supports paying someone less because of gender than she would to discriminate based on religion [the one thing that does motivate her].

I do have a problem with government telling businesses how to operate,” she said.

Rep. Townsend is a deeply confused individual. The Arizona Civil Rights Act as well as the federal Civil Rights Act are government statutes that tell businesses that they cannot discriminate against individuals based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in the terms of employment, housing and public accommodations. So you’re telling me that you have a problem with civil rights in general (except for “religious liberty,” of course)?

The ERA, on the other hand, would enshrine in the Constitution that women share equal rights to men under the law — what a radical concept! — something women do not currently enjoy under either the U.S. or Arizona Constitution, even at this late date in the 21st Century.

It is way past time to put the ERA into both the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions.

14 Responses to Arizona House recesses rather than debate the Equal Rights Amendment

  1. Steve, You’ve got to be kidding. The “women are already equal” canard died in the 1970s. On what planet is forced vaginal ultrasound (which the woman is mandated to pay for) not state discrimination based on sex?

    BTW, the ERA was proposed almost 100 years ago. It was proposed in Congress every year for 50 years before Congress took it up on a bipartisan vote in 1972.

    What are the men afraid of?

    • “Steve, You’ve got to be kidding. The “women are already equal” canard died in the 1970s.”

      No, Pamela, I am not kidding, and that canard did not die in the 1970s. If anything it is more appropriate today than ever before. Today, excluding women, or limiting women, in any way from anything results in either lawsuits or legislation to stop it. Women want it all and are denied nothing.

      “On what planet is forced vaginal ultrasound (which the woman is mandated to pay for) not state discrimination based on sex?”

      I have no idea what that means or the context in which it applies to this subject. When did it occur? Why did it occur? To whom did it occur? And how is it relevant to this discussion?

      “BTW, the ERA was proposed almost 100 years ago.”

      Okay. That is a nice bit of trivia, but it is meaningless until it was made a proposed amendment in 1972.

      “What are the men afraid of?”

      First of all, not just men oppose the ERA. Secondly, I can only speak for myself and I think the ERA is a silly redundancy that is unecessary and whose only outcome will be a litany of ridiculous lawsuits generated by clever lawyers who will have a brand new Constitutional Amendment to base their lawsuits on.

      Pamela, I am nearly alway open to a persuasive argument. Why do you think it is so important that the ERA pass?

  2. Sharon Girard

    Stating in the Constitution women are equal should be a nobrainer in 2017. Should this be flipped, men would be up in arms. Women in the draft? Why not? Women in combat, firefighters, lumberjacks, hard labor, women do it all. Women step up and are fully integrated in our society and should receive all the same support as men. Stop all these silly manining remarks, the time is now!

    • ” Stop all these silly mansplaining remarks. Women are the majority and constitutionally supporting us in every way, the time is now!”

      As you so succinctly spelled out in your messages, Sharon, there is no need for the ERA because women have equal rights already. What the ERA has become in the 40+ years since it was proposed is a moot point. History has already overtaken it and passing the ERA today would be meaningless except to line the pockets of attorneys who would immediately begin filing lawsuits based upon tiny subtleties they would create from the new amendment. Now I am sorry I am a man who has the temerity to explain this to you, but that really is beside the point.

  3. Sharon Girard

    Stating in the Constitution women are equal should be a nobrainer in 2017. Should this be flipped, men would be up in arms. Women in the draft? Why not? Women in combat, firefighters, lumberjacks, hard labor, women do it all. Women step up and are fully integrated in our society and should receive all the same support as men. Stop all these silly mansplaining remarks. Women are the majority and constitutionally supporting us in every way, the time is now!

  4. “Arizona House recesses rather than debate the Equal Rights Amendment.”

    What is there to debate? It is a poorly thought out and poorly drafted peice of feel good fluff written more than 40 years ago that would have been tossed aside years ago as a potential amendment because of how long it was taking to ratify it if it weren’t for a cabal of screeching harpies who won’t let it die a well deserved death. The truth is that is has been held around for an extreme and unreasonable amount of time in the hope that by sheer inertia enough states might ratify over a long period of time. No potential amendment was ever allowed to languish as long as this jewel of idiocy has been.

    What should happen is we should admit it is a bad idea whose time has not come (nor likely ever will come), the ramifications of which are completely unknown, and passing it would only start one of the biggest lawsuit bonanzas this Country has ever seen. We should, after 40+ years, cancel it, and, if people really want it, start a new one circulating. I don’t think the support is there for a new one – any more than there is for this one – and that is why the harpies fight so hard to keep this old and battered ensign flying. It’s their one bite at the apple.

    • “No potential amendment was ever allowed to languish as long as this jewel of idiocy has been.”

      Factually inaccurate. The 27th Amendment was proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1992.

      • “The 27th Amendment was proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1992.”

        You are correct, Edward, but it isn’t the same thing. The 27th Amendment was first proposed in 1789, as part of the original Bill of Rights, but was not included in the final draft of the Constitution. The proposed congressional pay amendment was largely forgotten until 1982 when Gregory Watson researched it as a student at the University of Texas at Austin and began a new campaign for its ratification. The amendment eventually became part of the United States Constitution on May 5, 1992, completing a record-setting ratification period of 202 years, 7 months, and 10 days. The leaders of both parties contested the ratification process because of the length of time that had lapsed between the introduction of the Proposal and the approval of the Amendment, but, after discussions, they decided it really didn’t matter and both houses passed Resolutions approving it.

        The reason I say it was different than the ERA is the 27th Amendment Proposal was pretty much forgotten about for almost 200 years and no one was pushing for it’s approval. The push for the ERA has been constant and steady…the support from the People just hasn’t been there.

        Thank you for pointing out an interesting tidbit of our history of which I was completely unaware. Stories like that make history come alive because the people and their activities show through more often in the anecdotes of history than in the large tomes describing the sweeping reach and the impact of events.

    • AZ BlueMeanie

      So you view women, more than half of the human species, as a “cabal of screeching harpies.” I’m sure they love you back.

      • “So you view women, more than half of the human species, as a “cabal of screeching harpies.”

        Show me, AzBM, where 100% of women want the ERA to pass into an Amendment. You can’t, because they don’t. And that has consistently been the case for 40+ years. If it wasn’t the case, we would have passed the ERA 40+ years ago. The “screeching harpies” I refer to are the original bunch that proposed it initially…the hard core feminists of the 1960s and 1970s who felt it was necessary to destroy society in order to “rebuild it correctly”.

        • AZ BlueMeanie

          The shorter version of your original comment can be summarized: “Sit down and shut up woman! This world is for white male privilege. There is no debate. That is all.” You only dig your hole deeper with your nonsense that “hard core feminists of the 1960s and 1970s who felt it was necessary to destroy society in order to “rebuild it correctly.”” I was there. There was a broad bipartisan coalition of men and women who supported passage of the ERA. I recall First Ladies Betty Ford and Rosalynn Carter working together for passage of the ERA. Neither of these ladies were the “screeching harpies” of your misogynist imagination, and do not deserve the slander of your sexist comments. They were far better persons than you can ever hope to be. Virtually ever comment you post on this blog reeks of white male privilege . . . it’s like Bill O’Rielly is your alter ego, and we all we know the problems he has with women.

          • I was wondering if you actually had a point to your missive, AzBM, other than name calling and insults. It was hard to discern a point to it, but the best I could figure out is your memory of the era when the ERA was first proposed was one of great agreement and bonhomie. I, too, was a young man during that time and I remember the proposal met with a giant collective groan across the nation. Now which of the two of us remembers it correctly, do you suppose? Since it still hasn’t been approved after 45 years, do you think YOU remember it correctly? Your memory should have led to a quick approval I would think. The truth is the ERA was NEVER received well by the Nation and it still isn’t. If it takes 45 years and we still can’t get 3/4ths of the States to approve it, it isn’t as popular as you like to believe. And that doesn’t even consider the States that tried to back out of the approval but were informed by the Courts they couldn’t.

            To paraphrase you, it was a broad coalition of men and women who opposed the ERA at it’s inception, and still do today. You keep ignoring the women who oppose it and you try and make it a male issue when it isn’t.

            One last thing: I believe it makes you feel good to use profanity and call people foul names. I just want to make sure you understand that it doesn’t faze me in the least. I expect it and I recognize the source, and expect nothing less. So if you do it to intimidate me, it’s a bust. If you do it because it is cathartic, or for your audience, or because it just plain makes you feel good, then go for it! ;o)

          • AZ BlueMeanie

            Misogynist and sexist are not profanities, they are descriptive adjectives that accurately describe what you posted here. I’m well aware that you don’t care because of your sense of white male privilege, and your commitment to trolling this blog.

          • Touch’. You are correct in what you wrote. I can understand why you think “misogynist and sexist” might be good descriptions for me based on this particular subject. To know better, you would have to know me personally which is not likely to ever happen.

            As to trolling this website…I do troll here because it is a very good website to do so. Unlike most liberal websites, you allow contrary opinions to be posted and recognize that there are other opinions out there besides the liberals ones. And I really appreciate you all allowing it. To me, it means you have the courage of your convictions and are not threatened or afraid of contrary points of view. I have noticed recently that some conservative sites are starting to block liberal osters from posting, and I condemn that wholeheatedly. Politics can be rough and tumble, but ignoring your opposition is not the way to deal with issues of the day.

            Thank you, AzBM, and all your cohorts who still allow conservative points of view to be posted here.