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Presidential Candidates Differ in Response About Equal Rights For Women, Says ERA Task Force


Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney Asked Whether They Believe the Constitution Should Guarantee Equal Legal Rights for Women and Men.

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) November 03, 2012

Women voters will decide the winner of the Nov. 6 presidential election, according to political pundits, but the electorate has heard almost nothing from candidates Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney about the issue of women's constitutional rights.

In late summer, the following question was sent to both presidential campaigns:

“Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the Constitution does not prohibit sex discrimination, but an April 2012 poll by Daily Kos/SEIU shows 91% support for constitutionally guaranteed equal rights. Do you believe the Constitution should specifically guarantee that women and men have equal legal rights?”

The reply from Pres. Obama's campaign to the National Council of Women's Organizations ERA [Equal Rights Amendment] Task Force:

“President Obama has a proven track record of supporting the ERA. As an Illinois State Senator, he was a sponsor of a joint resolution ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, and as a United States Senator he was a cosponsor of the Women's Equality Amendment.”

The reply from Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign to Mormons for ERA: none.

The 2012 Democratic Party platform includes ERA ratification, while the Republican Party dropped its 40-year support of the ERA in 1980 and declared opposition to it in 1984.

Pres. Obama was heavily criticized by conservatives for “guilt by association” with liberal Rev. Jeremiah Wright, minister of the United Church of Christ that the Obamas formerly belonged to in Chicago.

Gov. Romney, a former bishop and stake president in the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS), has faced virtually no questions about his views on or association with the church's opposition to the ERA.

Writer Jon Krakauer states, “Most political analysts believe that had the LDS Church not taken such an aggressive position against the ERA, it would have been easily ratified by the required thirty-eight states, and would now be part of the U.S. Constitution."

Mormon opposition to the ERA continues to the present. A 2009 Nevada legislative hearing on a non-binding resolution supporting the ERA was packed with anti-ERA Mormons, primarily women. The LDS church hierarchy is entirely male.

Judge Robert Bork, an unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee in 1987, was a mentor to Justice Scalia and similarly believes that the Constitution does not prohibit sex discrimination. He is Gov. Romney's chief legal advisor.

When asked about women's rights in an Oct. 17, 2011 Newsweek interview, Judge Bork replied, “It seems to me silly to say, ‘Gee, they're discriminated against and we need to do something about it.' They aren't discriminated against anymore.”

The Equal Rights Amendment – “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex” – would protect and advance equitable treatment of women and men in employment, education, and many other areas of law.

It was passed by Congress in 1972 but got only 35 of the needed 38 state ratifications by a 1982 deadline.

ERA ratification bills have been introduced in each session of Congress since that date. Some legal analysts propose that the existing 35 state ratifications may still be valid, and only three more state approvals would be required to put the ERA into the Constitution.


The ERA Task Force is an initiative of the National Council of Women's Organizations, a Washington, DC–based network of more than 200 women's organizations, representing more than 12 million members, who work for women's equal participation in economic, social, and political life nationally and globally. To learn more about the Equal Rights Amendment visit

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