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Don't Disturb the Dead! 
Someone is trying to dig up the dead-and-buried ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and pretend it's alive. Don't be fooled. It's been stone cold for nearly 18 years.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that ERA is officially dead because its time limit expired. (NOW v. Idaho, 459 U.S. 809, 1982) (Also see St. Louis Post Dispatch Oct. 4, 1982)

Missouri considered and rejected ERA in the 1970s. Much additional evidence has surfaced to confirm Missouri's decision. New Mexico and Hawaii are two of the very few states that made the mistake of putting strict ERA-language in their state constitutions.

ERA would allow the courts to make all sorts of mischievous rulings such as invalidating state sodomy laws. The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ruled in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas (June 8, 2000) that Texas's sodomy law is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Rights Amendment that was added to the Texas constitution in 1972. The court's opinion stated: "The simple fact is, the same behavior is criminal for some but not for others, based solely on the sex of the individuals who engage in the behavior. In other words, the sex of the individual is the sole determinant of the criminality of the conduct."

Dissenting Justice J. Harvey Hudson wrote: "Appellants have produced no evidence to show the Texas Equal Rights Amendment was ever intended to decriminalize homosexual conduct. Rather, appellants contend we should blindly adhere to the bare words of the amendment, giving them absolute effect. The irony, of course, is that this is the very argument employed by those who sought to defeat the amendment almost 30 years ago. . . . Most supporters of the amendment not only rejected this construction, they ridiculed it. Now, however, after time has begun to obscure the original intent of the amendment, what was considered a highly unlikely, if not farcical interpretation, has been embraced by the majority."

ERA would make taxpayer-funding of abortion a constitutional right. Since only women undergo abortions, the denial of taxpayer funding for them can be construed as sex discrimination. The New Mexico Supreme Court did, in fact, rule that the state's ERA forces the New Mexico taxpayers to pay for abortions under the Medicaid program. (N.M. Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson, 975 P.2d 841, 1998)

ERA would make same-sex marriages a constitutional right. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is sex discrimination and unconstitutional under Hawaii's state ERA. (Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44, 1993)

In order to undo the damage done by adding ERA to the Hawaii state constitution, Hawaii voters passed a new constitutional amendment on Nov. 3, 1998, stating that "the legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples."

ERA would make unconstitutional SB 744, the pending State Senate bill stating that Missouri will recognize marriage only between a man and a woman.

The American Bar Association Journal reported (August 1999, p. 56): "NOW [National Organization for Women], which didn't push to include abortion and gay rights the first time around, would do so if a new ERA passed."

Missourians do not want our courts to order tax-funded abortions or same-sex marriages.

ERA has been in the grave for 18 years. Don't try to breathe new life into a rotting corpse. Let ERA rest in peace.

Missouri Eagle Forum
P.O. Box 166
Grover, Missouri 63040

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