Rep. Victoria Steele reintroduces an ERA Resolution


ERA-1Last year Rep. Victoria Steele (D-Tucson) introduced HCR 2016 (.pdf), a resolution recommending the ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It had bipartisan support among its cosponsors, but went nowhere.

Rep. Steele has refiled her ERA resolution in this session, HCR 2020 (.pdf). Steele’s 26 cosponsors, so far, are all Democrats.

What, Republicans do not believe that women should enjoy equal rights under the law equal to men? The ERA has always had bipartisan support.

Last year’s Republican cosponsors were Karen Fann, Michelle Ugenti, and Kelly Townsend (Ethan Orr is no longer in the legislature). Step up, ladies! And bring some of those Republican men with you.

As I suggested last year, “Put an ERA Amendment to the Arizona Constitution” on the ballot in 2016. Note: there is no reason why the Arizona Legislature cannot simply refer this measure to the ballot, and save supporters the trouble and expense of a citizens initiative.

Here is a “back of the envelope” draft to get you started:

A measure to amend the Arizona Constitution, Article 2, Declaration of Rights, by adding a new Section 38, Equality of Rights Under the Law:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the state or any of its political subdivisions on account of sex.

Section 2. The Arizona Legislature shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect upon certification by the Secretary of State of approval by a majority of voters at the next general election.

Enacting the ERA in the Arizona Constitution would put women on an equal footing with men under the law. The courts would be required to apply the strict scrutiny standard of review to any legislation which applies specifically to women as a class (typically matters of contraception and abortion). This is a higher standard of review than the “undue burden” standard of review currently used for restrictions on a woman’s access to abortion. It is a mid-level heightened scrutiny between the strict scrutiny standard of review and the lesser rational basis standard of review.

This could put Cathi Herrod and her CAP out of the business of writing legislation for new restrictions on a woman’s access to contraception and abortion.


  1. Yes, we must do whatever we can to strip free speech from the opposition. They have no rights when it comes to speaking out against us.

    • So you are opposed to full constitutional equality for women, more than half of the U.S. population. What a shock – NOT!

      • My comments focused on your almost giddy response to the thought that passage would mean pro-life forces would be silenced. That you would see passage of an amendment as an opportunity to stomp on free speech rights of people with whom you disagree was worthy of note.

        That is also just one of the reasons why, after almost 40 years of effort, the ERA has not passed. There are too many people like you who cackle with delight at the ways you will use the law to disassemble current culture and to silence opposition. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t agree that women should be treated equally under the law, but very few think the ERA is the way to do it; nor do they think that just equal rights for women is the true end game of the hard core zealots pushing it. The ERA is a good idea being used to sell a large number of undesireable, unintended consequenses. At least, “unintended” for the average rational person…

        • You have a problem with an explanation of the standards of review on appeal and the legal consequences?

          A woman’s right to make healthcare decisions regarding her own body — a right that you unquestionably enjoy as a male — takes precedence over any particular religious dogma that would dictate to a woman what she can do with her own body. We are a pluralistic society with no official state religion, and one religion cannot impose the dictates of its religious beliefs onto other religious faiths, or people of no religious faith. You are free to speak and believe whatever you want — there is no free speech issue because the government is not restricting your ability to speak — but you are not entitled to use the power of the state to impose your religious beliefs on others and to compel others to conform to your religious beliefs. That is a violation of the religious liberty clause of the First Amendment because the state is now compelling a woman to conform to a particular religious belief, one which she may not share or oppose. In Arizona this includes the “liberty of conscience,” which is independent of any organized religious doctrine. Arizona Constitution, Article 2, Section 12.

          Women only enjoy the rights they have by statute. Statutes can be amended, thus such rights can be taken away. Women do not enjoy the “fundamental constitutional rights” that men enjoy. There is no express equality of rights for women under the Constitution, as women were considered chattel property of their husbands at the time of its writing. Women were not included in the 14th Amendment, as Justice Scalia takes pleasure in pointing out: “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that.” The 19th Amendment only guarantees that women have the right to vote, nothing more.

          You are so full of shit. What you really want is to impose your beliefs on women through the power of the state. Be man enough to admit it.

          • Do you actually read what I write, or do simply respond to what you wish I would say?

            I stated that everyone I know thinks that women should receive the same rights under the law as men, as do I. No one thinks of women as chattel or property to be held submissive to men. Your attempt at ascribing these traits to me are ludicrous and if you truly believe I think what you state, then you are more deluded than even I think you are (and that is rather astounding to imagine).

            The ERA is a concept that has merit, but it will not pass in the foreseeable future because of zealots like you. Right from the start, discussions of the ERA didn’t focus on how it would correct the problem of women not being included when the Constitution was written. Instead, the discussions always turned around to the many lawsuits that would be used – based on the ERA – to reform society into something that most American found objectionable. And that is still what happens today. Hard as it is for you to understand, that utopia you visualize in your head is not very attractive to most Americans.

Comments are closed.