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Floor statement about the Equal Rights Amendment, Assembly Daily Journal, 1977


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NEVADA LEGISLATURE Fifty-Ninth Session, 1977 ASSEMBLY DAILY JOURNAL Roll call on Senate Joint Resolution No. 5: YEAS?15. NAYS?Banner, Bremner, Craddock, Demers, Dreyer, Harmon, Hayes, Hickey, Horn, Jacobsen, Jeffrey, Mann, May, Mello, Moody, Polish, Rhoads, Robinson, Ross, Schofield, Sena, Serpa, Westall, Mr. Speaker?24. Absent?Howard/, v * ' - Senate Joint Resolution No. 5 having failed to receive a constitutional majority, Mr. Speaker declared it lost. REMARKS FROM THE FLOOR Assemblyman Price requested that all remarks concerning Senate Joint Resolution No. 5 be entered in the Journal. , Assemblyman Brookman: Mr. Speaker, Members of the Assembly, as a member of .this House my title is. Assemblyman, why? Because at the time this great nation was formed, its first Congress, the drafters not recognizing woman's right to participate in government, made reference to everything in the masculine gender. They, in their infinite wisdom created a congressman, a chairman, a postman, etc. It never entered their minds that a woman would vote, let alone run for office and win. We had worked very long and hard 125 years for the right. The 19th Amend-ment was passed* I might add with a second section stating that, "Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." If we were voting on that amendment today, I wonder if the members of this House would have voted "aye." Would it receive the same consideration as the 27th Amendment? You need our votes, each and every one of you in this House. Please go back with me in history and consider the 26 amendments we have and you will see that amending our Constitution is a difficult process; the method of ratification has not changed in the history of the nation. Why should the language of the second section of this amendment frighten you? Numerous times our forefathers have used this language when implementation of an amendment was needed. It is the action clause needed to make effective the intent of the amendment. Article 13, the amendment to abolish slavery, passed in 1865. It had a second section. Article 14, the definition of citizenship (which incidentally made male slaves citizens and left out women) has this section, as does article 15?the right to vote regardless of race (still the women were left out). Article 19?women's suffrage?150 years later has the same clause, and aren't you glad that one passed because women have 51 percent of the votes and that's what gets many of you elected. It also has this second section, article 24, barring poll tax and giving everyone the right to vote has this second section. Then look how enlightened the United States became. We gave the 18-year-olds the right to vote and they became equal under the law. It took that one 4 months to ratify?it has certainly taken a lot longer for women to gain legal equality. The 18-year-old vote amendment carries the implementing clause. Here it is 1977, 112 years later and the United States is still intact?unshaken by any repercussion from those second' sections. Congress in all these years has not seemed to have abused the rights given them in the few words of those second sections. They do not seem to have deemed it necessary to invoke, revoke, rescind or exercise all these second sections and we are still in business, under the same proud flag: By the way when my husband went off to war for 3 years I did not see him?I was working and raising my young son. As we all know, army pay in those days was little or none. Little did I know when he grew up to be of age, that he too would be called to serve his country, and he did "with pride." Who held up the country then but the women. The women were home because the men were gone doing their duty and I think we did our duty very well. You thought we were equal then?you left everything in our hands. The country did not collapse, the sky did not fall. It. did not break the moral fiber of the home because one partner was away from home. I think not! It just made us stronger. I, as a wife of 35 years or more, a mother and a grandmother have not been frightened or threatened by these second sections and I daresay that anybody sitting in this room has not either. For 112 years they haven't been, why be afraid now . T h i s amendment does for the first time contain a third section, stating that the amendment has; 2 years before going into effect?to give the states thaTperiod of time t o make the necessary changes in legal statutes?to insure the right of states to sovereign rights. I venture to say that most every person in this room whose ancestors came to this land from the "Old Country" is proud of their heritage. Yet, the grandparents and parents came here to make a free country One premise guaranteed by that free country is the right to go into a "house of worship of their choice. That free country guaranteed that we no longer had to live under the tyranny of a church dominated state?to each his own church Mine is not better than yours?yours is not better than mine. But I will not be forced to vote my conviction under the influence of any religious pressures! No I will not. That is not what democracy is about. I stand here today as an elected 'official and if I read the Constitution right, we in this House were elected to make the laws that will help to improve the lot of all humankind. Other countries can't do that out I am proud to say we can. Women hold up half the sky?produce 100 percent of all the babies (and that's a percentage that hasn't changed since time immemorial. Please?do not deny equality in these United States any longer, for after all we live here too! We are not going to go away! On the contrary, we promise you we will not vanish from this earth, nor from these halls. We were good enough to hold up the country in time of war. Do not deny us what is rightfully ours! Vote yea on ERA.