George F. Will, in his June 14 op-ed, “The farcical bid to resurrect the ERA,” opposing the Equal Rights Amendment, regurgitated a column from 1999 in which he laid out his now-further-decayed arguments against the ERA.
As usual, he obscured the forest by pointing out individual trees with misleading claims. One especially egregious example: He conveniently omitted a critical detail about the legal case he cited to make his point that the amendment cannot be ratified. He wrote, “The only federal court to rule on the four-year extension held it unconstitutional and said all rescissions were valid.” In fact, the 1981 Idaho v. Freeman decision was vacated when the case became moot in 1982. It has no legal effect and might well have been overturned by the Supreme Court if the case had reached it.
Time’s up, Mr. Will, for those who recycle illogical opposition to resist advances in equal rights. Time’s up for those who have benefited from the uneven playing field set up by the Constitution.
The facts: The Equal Rights Amendment is still necessary to guarantee equal constitutional rights to all people regardless of gender. Today’s energy of resistance and persistence puts the wind under its wings on its way to becoming part of the Constitution.
Carol Robles-Román, Washington
The writer is co-president and chief executive of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality.
Roberta W. Francis, Mount Laurel, N.J.
The writer is ERA education consultant for the Alice Paul Institute.
George F. Will may think the Equal Rights Amendment is farcical. I’m not laughing.
He cited the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, as sufficient to protect women’s rights because it states that these protections are guaranteed to “any person.” Yeah, right. That will come as news to African Americans and women alike. After 1868, women still did not have the right to custody of their own children, to sit on a jury or to vote. After 1868, American apartheid became only more firmly entrenched. Long and painstaking struggle brought about women’s right to vote only in 1920.
Like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I would rest a whole lot easier if women were clearly and definitively included in the Constitution. I feel more strongly about it now than I did in 1972. I remain hopeful, and have good reason to be. Mr. Will should take a good look at photographs from the 2017 Women’s March. We are here, and we are not going away anytime soon.
Adriana van Breda , Alexandria