February 21, 2020 at 6:51 am PST | by Robin Tyler
We need the ERA now!
ERA, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by David via Flickr)

Excuse me? I can’t hear you! Why are you not talking about the ERA?

‘What is the ERA?” you ask?

It means EQUAL RIGHTS AMMENDMENT!

It means “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States because of sex.”

Yes, it would finally put WOMEN in the constitution! It has only taken 48 YEARS to have enough states to ratify it!

Yes, the 19th Amendment granting women suffrage is the only mention of the word “woman” in the Constitution. And, the ONLY right guaranteed to women by federal law is the right to vote. (Except in states controlled by Republicans! Just kidding.)

The most important effect of the ERA would be the clarification of the status of sex discrimination for the courts, decisions of which still demonstrate confusion regarding such claims.

For the first time, “sex” would be a suspect classification, like race, and would require the same level of “strict scrutiny” and to have to meet the same high level of justification — a “necessary” relation to a “compelling” state interest as the classification of race.

This issue is so important.

Last month, Virginia became the critical 38th state to ratified it! Of course, Republicans want to say it is too late, as it took so many years to get three-fourths of U.S state legislatures required for a constitutional amendment. Some states want to rescind their ratification because the Republican Party has made such an extreme right turn, that if the planet were flat (which some of them still think it is), they would fall right off.

Our community fights with each other over everything: “Pete Buttigieg isn’t queer enough!” Maybe — but he still doesn’t have the right to work in more than 30 states, which will make being president difficult.

“Amy Klobuchar is really a bitch.” Why? Because she is a strong, forceful, highly intelligent moderate. Besides, our community loved Joan Crawford. I rest my case.

An ex-lover told me “Elizabeth Warren is too aggressive. She reminds me of my old gym teacher.”

“Really?” I replied. A gym teacher who is also progressive and brilliant? Perfect!

And don’t get me started over the fights about Mike Bloomberg.

So we spend a lot of time fighting with each other. Over everything, not just
politics!

Meanwhile, the most important bill to affect all women — an issue that cis and trans women might consider fighting for together — is hardly getting any press!

And I don’t see organizing for the ERA going on in our community!

What about those wonderful demonstrations that WEHO pulls together in 8 hours — usually with all the City Council speakers, but still, inspiring!

Where are you WEHO City Council?

Remember when gay men loved lesbians because of how much we did for them during the AIDS crisis? “Just let us know if there is anything we can do for you” was their grateful response.

HELLO, GAY MEN! As a matter of fact, there is something you can do for us.

Visibly support the ERA!

Hello, queer people! You say you are the most inclusive group?

Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s us — you know, women!

OK, it’s us, the L and the female B in LGBTQ!

Remember us? Will you fight for the ERA?

Now, to be honest, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who supports the ERA, for once has sided with the Republicans and believes we should “begin again.”

Excuse me? “Begin again” in a country that is going directly toward male authoritarianism which suffocates women’s rights?

OK, let’s begin again and see what happens with marriage equality, or racial justice or even social security or Medicare.

Do we look stupid enough to throw ourselves under the bus when we are fighting the right wing from pushing us there?

No. This is our one and only chance for the next 100 years — providing the planet lasts 100 months, let along 100 years.

So, let’s see this coalition come together to fight for women as hard as we have fought for you.

 

Robin Tyler is a Jewish, gender queer lesbian comedienne and pioneer in the LGBTQI civil rights movement.

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