Unintended Consequences

“I don’t think we should add this amendment because we don’t know what will happen and there could be unintended consequences.”

  • When the Founding Fathers approved the Bill of Rights, they did not know the potential consequences of constitutionally guaranteeing individual rights.  Our nation was a grand Enlightenment experiment, and no one could see how it would turn out.  Moreover, Federalists opposed ratifying the Bill of Rights because they feared procedural uncertainties.  Nonetheless, Virginia ratified the Bill of Rights and it became part of our Constitution.  
  • As we see from hundreds of years of judicial decisions, Constitutional rights–even ones as sacred as freedom of speech–are not absolute.  No one has the right to yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater.  Likewise, rights protected by the Equal Rights Amendment will not be absolute.    
  • Even with the Equal Rights Amendment, the government may make distinctions on the basis of sex if it has a compelling interest for doing so and the discriminatory action is narrowly tailored to serve that interest.  
  • The Equal Rights Amendment does not confer special rights. It simply prohibits the United States or any state from denying or abridging equality of rights under the law on account of sex.
  • Failure to ratify continues the country’s current path of unintended consequences for not ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.  Without this amendment, women continue to be treated as second-class citizens in a nation that purports to value equality, opportunity for all, and advancement based on merit.