Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Measure calls for equal rights

February 20, 2007

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— A political movement from more than a generation ago has resurfaced in Kansas - an Equal Rights Amendment aimed at ensuring that women have the same constitutional rights as men.

"I think this is a position we need to take," state Rep. Geraldine Flaharty, D-Wichita, said Monday.

Flaharty has introduced a resolution to amend the Kansas Constitution by adding a section that says equal rights under the law shall not be denied on account of sex.

To become part of the constitution, the measure would require two-thirds approval in the state House and Senate, and then a majority in a statewide vote.

For now, Flaharty simply is trying to get a hearing on House Concurrent Resolution 5017 during the current legislative session.

"It's under the radar for most people right now," she said.

But it's not the first time an Equal Rights Amendment has been before the Kansas Legislature.

In the 1970s, the Kansas Legislature was one of the first in the nation to ratify a proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But the amendment failed because it was ratified by only 35 of the required 38 states.

Even with the failure of the national effort, many states have in their constitutions guarantees of equal rights regardless of sex.

Kansas doesn't, said Marla Patrick, statewide coordinator of the Kansas National Organization for Women.

Patrick said that because the federal ERA was never ratified and the Kansas Constitution doesn't have a similar amendment, women's rights are left to the decisions of current lawmakers.

"Women should not have to fight for their rights with every changing political cycle," Patrick said. "It is unconscionable that women are denied full constitutional rights when they are equally contributing members of our society."

Comments

bd 8 years, 5 months ago

?????What rights are they denied??????

imastinker 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm curious too. The one I hear over adn over is the earnings gap - but I think there is more to it than those studies cover. They are biased studies.

Women do have equal rights.

blessed3x 8 years, 5 months ago

"It is unconscionable that women are denied full constitutional rights when they are equally contributing members of our society."

I agree wholeheartedly! It's about time women have the right to vote...um..wait...they have that one.

Then, it's about time women have the right to hold property...what?...They have that one, too.

How about the right to run for office? They can do that too, huh?

So, pray tell, exactly what RIGHTS are being denied to women, or is this just an attempt to bash men over the head some more.

JM Andy 8 years, 5 months ago

Considering politicians keep trying to get into my uterus, I'd say it's pretty smart to have something on the books that says I'm an autonomous human being who has the right to privacy and control OF MY OWN BODY!

compmd 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm no con law expert, but doesn't the constitution grant everyone the right to do whatever so long as there are no laws explicitly banning that activity? if so, doesn't that make this amendment moot? the only verbiage conceivable to me would be along the lines of "no law shall be passed denying rights to one gender."

bettie 8 years, 5 months ago

The entire text of this amendment is as follows:

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

What part of that would you call "an attempt to bash men over the head some more", blessed3x?

The only right guaranteed to women explicitly in the constitution is the right to vote. Every other legal protection against discrimination based on sex can be attributed to laws or court findings.

Laws can be changed by a simple majority and court decisions reversed. Supporters of the ERA believe that legal equality shouldn't merely hang in the balance, dependent on the makeup of any particular governing body.

Porter 8 years, 5 months ago

Good point bettie. I must admit, I first thought that this was a solution in need of a problem. In fact, only a year ago, I would have thought this to be a silly idea.

Now, habeaus corpus is indiscriminantly revoked. Homosexuals are told they cannot marry. English-only laws are the new fad.

It's not a bad idea for each protected class to start dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's so to speak. Cover your bases, folks. The traditionalists will have us all wearing white hoods before long. Ahh, remember the good ol' days....

moxxie_mama 8 years, 5 months ago

The problem is that most of these are not guaranteed, they're written as individual laws. That means one extreme lawmaker could get into office and start picking apart these rights. Under the constitution, that could not happen.

There is no excuse for women to not be included in the constitution. The right to vote is the only thing guaranteed to women under the constitution.

So what is the big deal about making it legitimate and sealed? THis is America, there is no reason why women should not be written into the constitution as equals.

None.

moxxie_mama 8 years, 5 months ago

I would like to point out also that this amendment has ZERO to do with a woman's right to choose. Whoever put that out there is misguided, and it's not an attempt to sneak that in as part of the deal.

Roe could still be overturned with this bill, the merits of choice are completely separate from this.

So ALL people should be able to get behind this amendment no matter how they feel on the abortion issue. This merely states that men and women have equal protection under the law, the rights that are guaranteed to men will apply to women as well. That is it, nothing more.

The only people who would not support this are those who feel women are not equals. And it's a very sad day in America if there are enough of them to keep this bill from passing.

This is something that should have been done thirty years ago. It's just long overdue.

Jamesaust 8 years, 5 months ago

Ironically, "equal rights" is a perfect example of how much has changed in the Kansas GOP (for those who insist that so-called 'moderates' are not real Republicans) --

Not only did Kansas ratify the ERA when it was first proposed, but the ORIGINAL amendment, introduced in Congress in 1923(!). In the House, it was by Rep. Daniel Anthony of KANSAS and in the Senate by Sen. Charles Curtis of KANSAS. Who would have thought? (Probably explains also why Kansas led the nation in press freedom and liberal abortion laws, too.)

Might I propose instead: Every person is entitled to all of the rights set forth under this Constitution without regard to gender; No religion or religious institution shall be required to recognize gender equality in its relationship with the State of Kansas.

james bush 8 years, 5 months ago

All I heard is that women will be drafted when we go to war!?!?

Probably more to it than that!

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