How Much Do We Want Equal Rights?|
Charting Our Course
Inside... Collective Bargaining
1977 Convention Wrap-Up: A Look at Hawaii's Present Economy
Excerpts (Jerry Hess)
Resolution Presented and Passed at State Convention (Adeline Schutz)
National Energy Conference
Statement of Position
ERA Means Equal Rights for Men and Women
How Much Do We Want Equal Rights?
Three weeks ago ERAmerica, a national organization which has been coordinating efforts to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, called our Hawaii League and asked if there was a chance of a rescission attempt in Hawaii. We answered blithely, "Of course not!" Hawaii was the first state to ratify the ERA Amendment. Further, it is a part of our own state constitution; equal rights is assured all the people of Hawaii and can not be denied on account of sex.
But the July International Women's Year conference jolted us all; shook our confidence and exposed our complacency. And we are in for some "after shock": the forces that elected 14 anti-ERA delegates to the national IWY convention in Houston have vowed to return next year to win support for rescission of Hawaii's ERA at the constitutional convention.
League involvement in the IWY conference was to run the election of delegates. We also took the opportunity to put up a display Friday night at Blaisdell Center to distribute information and encourage women to contribute to our ERA fundraising drive. All along, the League has conducted a non-militant, non-emotional lobbying effort for ERA based on common sense. Obviously, common sense alone will not win equal rights. We need the active support of all rational people to counteract the doubt that the opposition has cast upon the facts.
Distortion of the facts was plainly evident at the IWY conference in Hawaii, as it was in several other states. The conference, instead of providing a forum for a cross section of Hawaii's women to discuss many issues, became polarized into only two groups: the anti-ERA "traditionalists" and the pro-ERA "liberals". The League was lumped with the "liberals" on all issues, even though we have consistently pointed out that equal rights does not enter into matters of personal consideration.
Because of the simplistic grouping and fallacious logic which equates issues because of association, and the basic misunderstanding of equality, the real meaning of ERA has become obscured. ERA is not against motherhood, homemaking, the family; it does not endorse homosexuality, abortion, co-sexual public facilities. What it does do is to remove sex as a factor in determining the legal rights of women and men. It affects government action and does not interfere in private relationships. It will protect and extend rights to both men and women.
The time has come for all of us to stand up and be counted. Ratification is close -- only 3 states to go -- but the biggest battle is yet to come, and it appears that our defenses will need tremendous reinforcement to block a rescission attempt in our own state. The League has launched a top-priority fund-raising drive to ratify ERA by the March 1979 deadline. Newspaper publicity has brought in about $400. We need to raise at least $2000. Spread the word and decide for yourself how much you can afford. Can any of us afford to lose equality under the law?
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