Passing The Equal Rights Amendment Will Benefit Men
We're beginning to hear rumbles of the final passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Despite the dubious legality of passage at this point, the march to finally put it in the Constitution continues. Its passage is carried out by people who don't understand that it's passage will tend to benefit men and lawyers. Furthermore, the ERA and the debate surrounding it doesn't consider the underlying issues between the genders.
The legality of passage in it's current form is in dispute. The original amendment when passed in 1972 by Congress required state ratification by 1979. Congress later voted to extend this to 1982. Not enough states ratified it within that time so it is currently not in the Constitution. State legislatures are ratifying it in 2017 and 2018 because they believe that the legal deadline doesn't matter. A plain reading of the Constitution and precedent, indicates that they have a case based on a court case called Coleman v. Miller. However, in our politicized judicial environment anything is possible. Even the original extension by Congress was mired in litigation involving two court cases. Legal questions that could be raised and be sent to the Supreme Court include the revoking of approval by some state legislatures, whether two thirds of congress is needed to abolish the deadline, and whether Coleman v. Miller and other similar cases would even be overturned. If the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress and ratified by the States this year there wouldn't be an issue. Due to it's history, the ERA's passage may be problematic.
If the ERA is a creature of the women's rights movement, how does this help men? There are various aspects of our society that discriminate against women and various aspects that discriminate against men. Men may get paid extra and have more opportunities, but women tend to get shorter prison sentences for the same crimes. Women also tend to benefit from custody disputes. Court cases over gender issues have at times benefited men and women. Both men and women have had victories and defeats. Women have the edge in the court of public opinion. Women's rights is mainstream. Men's rights are a bit of a fringe joke. Self-described men and women feminists abound. Has anyone ever seen a masculinist? (Spell check indicates that masculinist isn't even an actual word even though it really is one.) Calling our system the Patriarchy is an accepted thing. Who's calling it the Matriarchy? It sounds like a Sacha Baron Cohen sketch. We currently have lots of gender discrimination laws on the books, but the ERA simply enshrines them in the Constitution. This helps men and their lawyers. Even if the court of public opinion is dead set against them, they have valid legal claims if they're not being treated the same way as women. It can even help them strike down women as a protected class. Protected classes exist in various contexts (primarily employment law), despite equality amendments in the Constitution. However, the ERA is an absolute ban on any discrimination of sex in any legal form. Both men and women would have to get equal protection by this amendment.
Want an easy example of unintended consequences? Women don't tend to get many corporate executive jobs, while men don't tend to get many receptionist jobs. There are very few executive jobs out there. Even if they were all given to women, most women would never become a corporate executive. There are lots of receptionist jobs. Lots of men will get those jobs, and some women will miss out on this employment. If the ERA is passed, employment litigation by women will increase, while employment litigation by men will skyrocket.
This strife between genders and potential gender war of sorts helps cover up deeper issues in our society. Why does a couple with both partners working live the same lifestyle that they would have lived decades ago when only one of them had to work? Why can they afford less children with two paychecks? Why are people having less sex and more stress and anxiety issues in their personal lives? Wasn't the sexual revolution supposed to make us satisfied? If people asked such questions on a regular basis and found the real answers, then we'd have a revolution in this country.