JWA Blog

Ballot Measure 89 - Equal Rights Amendment

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This week, we will take a look at the pros and cons of Ballot Measure 89, referred to as the Equal Rights Amendment.

First of all, allow me to quote from the Oregon Constitution, Article I:

Section 20. Equality of privileges and immunities of citizens. No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.

Passage of this ballot measure would add another section to the Oregon Constitution, Article 1:

SECTION 46. (1) Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the State of Oregon or by any political subdivision in this state on account of sex.

(2) The Legislative Assembly shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this section.


(3) Nothing in this section shall diminish a right otherwise available to persons under section 20 of this Article or any other provision of this Constitution.

Supporters of the measure are concerned that the existing language does not protect women from discrimination based on sex. They believe that women are still vulnerable. Opponents believe strongly in equal rights for women, but believe the existing language in the constitution provides protections beyond the current federal laws.

The folks who wrote the measure and got it on the ballot are attorneys. In fact I have worked with one of them for many years and he is not only capable, but he is also a very nice man. So don’t get the idea that I’m criticizing lawyers, because I’m not. The point that I am trying to make is that this is about how judges may rule in the future on sex discrimination cases. Opponents are groups like the ACLU who are mostly attorneys, as well.

I can’t honestly tell you that this measure is good, bad or indifferent. As I’ve said before, when you get your voter’s pamphlet, take an evening or weekend to go through and read the statements on all the issues. You just never know when an issue could affect you or someone in your family. Voting is your right. Many of our ancestors fought hard, and some even gave their lives to protect your right to vote.

Next week I’ll talk about measure 90. Referred to as the Open Primary Ballot Measure, this is generating a great deal of interest. Stay tuned…



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