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While the Commission report will be helpful to the Congress, to State legislatures, and to other officials, its value will be equally great as a basis for informed public judgment. It will help us all to understand the fundamental problems and the role of legislation in improving these. The facts and the experience that can be brought together by the Commission will go far to clarify these issues, some of which are complex, and open the way for women and men to decide together what they want to do with the old and the new in our experience. The women's status bill strikes me as a good way to get at the specifics in these questions, and to determine how revisions in our legal codes can result in a constructive formulation of women's status in modern society.
Mr. Chairman, the Department has been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to reporting favorably on the enactment of the women's status bill or to the presentation of this testimony in support of the proposed legislation.
Thank you very much.
Mr. CHADWICK. Miss Miller, may I ask you a question? It may be that I was unavoidably absent when some emphasis was laid upon the significance of the word “social” in the group of characterizations “differences in physical structure, biological or social function.” What does the use of that word import to you? What should it import to me?
Miss MILLER. Mr. Chairman, may I just illustrate? The family is a social function. The obligations, legal and customary, of men and women in relation to the family have varied and the law still maintains variations in them. Those are matters that seem to me important to review in any question of equalizing the status of women.
Mr. CHADWICK. There is one other matter. I notice that in your comment on H. R.5137 you said that this act in its original form would permit American wives the same right to bring in alien husbands now accorded American men as to alien wives. “I regret this bill has been amended by insertion of a terminal date.” Why did you add that last comment ?
Miss MILLER. This bill, H. R. 5137, is a proposed amendment to the Immigration Act of 1924. It provided, very simply, that an American citizen of either sex having an alien spouse might bring in that spouse on a nonquota basis. The Immigration Act itself now allows American women to bring in their husbands on a nonquota basis only if the marriage had occurred before a certain date now well in the past, July 1, 1932. The change proposed in H. R. 5137, to which I referred, has put in a new terminal date--that of January 1, 1948—so that any marriage of an American woman to a foreigner after that date would again put her under a handicap. Mr. CHADWICK. Does that equally apply to men ?
Mr. Gossett. No, Mr. Chadwick; that bill came out of our Committee on Immigration.
Mr. CHADWICK. I had not noticed that question in it when it was before us and I was trying to get some information-some further information on it.
Mr. GOSSETT. It is not entirely apropos of the debate, and I was not present in the committee when the date was fixed, although I concurred in it subsequently. The reason for that was that it was felt, and this may emphasize again the difference in social function, if you want to put it that way,it was felt that a good many men in their anxiety to come to this country were likely to or would overinduce or pursuade American women to marry them for the specific purpose of getting them to America and would then desert, leave, and abandon the woman after they got in, and while the committee recognized the equality of women, there are some 1,500 marriages, I think, which would provide a basis under the terms of the bill now for American women to bring their husbands in. They felt that there was a difference; perhaps the woman-American woman-marrying a foreign man, and the other way around. Now, that is, of course, debatable. But that was the reason for putting in that date. We do know of cases where those things have been done—fraudulent marriages for the purpose of getting into the country.
Mr. CHADWICK. Then the date does attach itself to the enabling section of the act to apply to women and it does not to men.
Mr. GOSSETT. That is correct; there is no restriction upon the American male citizen bringing in his alien wife. But there is a restriction upon the American female bringing in her alien husband.
That is the distinction and we maintain it, as Miss Miller points out, by the limitation which we placed on the bill which this committee reported.
Miss MILLER. I appreciate very much Mr. Gossett's explaining that. I would respectfully hope that the committee would review very seriously the testimony of the Immigration Service as to the rare occurrence of such situations as the committee fears—the good record, actually, of what has happened in the past and the testimony of the immigration officials, that generally, the marriage of alien husbands with citizens only to obtain entry into the United States and later have the fraud to obtain entry into the United States has been relatively unimportant, As a safeguard, the immigration law provides for punishment of fraudulent cases that might develop. The act of May 14, 1937, provides that aliens who fraudulently obtain visas by contracting marriage are subject to deportation. This law applies alike to alien immigrant men and alien immigrant women who marry American citizens only to obtain entry into the United States and later have the marriage annulled as of the date it was contracted.
Mr. GOSSETT. I think that is a wise suggestion. I do not recall whether that is in the bill or not. In other words, if they get into this country because of a fraudulent marriage and the marriage is then terminated, they should be deported, certainly. I fear we overlooked that in the legislation.
Miss MILLER. Mr. Chairman, if the committee is interested, I should like to leave copies of a new summary statement which the Women's Bureau has jut issued of the political and civil status of women in the United States. It reports what is the actual legal situation today under such matters as nationality, voting and public office, domicile, ownership, control and use of property, and so on.
Mr. REED. Do you desire to have that incorporated in the record?
(The summary referred to is as follows:) THE POLITICAL AND CIVIL STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES
Summary—Including Principal Sex Distinction as of January 1, 1948
POLITICAL STATUS Nationality
Citizenship in the United States is acquired in the same way by men and women; that is, by birth within the domain, by birth abroad of a parent who is a citizen, or by being naturalized. Mothers, as well as fathers, confer citizenship on their minor children. A married woman's citizenship does not automatically follow that of her husband. An alien wife may become a citizen whether or not her alien husband desires or qualifies for that privilege. If a woman citizen marries an alien, she retains her citizenship until she renounces it by declaring allegiance to another government. Voting and public office
Federal.—Any woman who has the qualifications required for voting in the State of her residence has full right of suffrage in the election of National Government officials and on proposals for change in the Federal Constitution; that is, in the basic law.
Likewise, any woman who meets the established qualifications of official positions in the National Government is eligible either for election or appointment to posts in the executive and legislative branches or for appointment to the judiciary, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
State.-Any woman who meets the general qualifications established for voting in the State in which she has legal residence has full right of suffrage in the election of State and local officials and in determination of public issues within the State, such as amendment of the State constitution, legislative proposals where the referendum procedure is operative, and on local matters such as special tax assessments for public improvements, school administration, and the like.
Also, any woman who has the qualifications required for elected officials of State and local governments is eligible for election to these positions.
Civil-service positions.-Appointive positions in both Federal and State civil services are open generally to qualified women ; that is, there are few legal barriers to the appointment of women. Appointing agencies for the Federal Government may designate whether male or female employees are preferred, when requesting a list of eligibles from the Civil Service Commission for selection of new personnel. Some States by statute specify the sex of appointees for certain ininor positions, such as superintendents, wardens, matrons, or attendants in institutions operated by the State.
Courts-Jury service.--Women are entitled by law to serve on juries in 35 States and the District of Columbia ; by this fact they are eligible also for Federal duty in these jurisdictions.
Nineteen States' require compulsory duty of qualified women; 16 States ? and the District of Columbia permit optional service from women.
Thirteen States have not yet removed the ancient English common-law "defect of sex” which bars women from all jury duty in these jurisdictions. (It should be noted in this connection that in England women now are eligible generally for jury duty, by virtue of the law reforms of the present century, particularly the Sex Disqualification Removal Act of 1919.) Domicile
Private domicile of a married woman depends on that of her husband, normally. The general rule is that when the interests of husband and wife become hostile so that dissolution of the marriage becomes necessary, an aggrieved
1 California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Vermont.
2 Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
3 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
wife may establish a separate domicile. Separate existence, interests, and rights are recognized in cases of this sort.
Public domicile. Most of the States limit husband and wife to the same marital domicile during marriage for voting, serving on juries, and holding public office.
However, at least 12 States under specified conditions allow a married woman to establish a separate domicile for voting: California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Five States permit separate domicile for eligibility to public office: Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York.
At least four States permit separate domicile for jury service qualification: Maine, Michigan, Nevada, and New Jersey.
Three States (Nevada, New Jersey, Virginia) recognize separate domicile for the personal property tax obligation of a married woman.
FAMILY RELATIONS Marriage
The marriage laws of the various States generally do not distinguish between the sexes, except in establishing minimum ages. Most States set a lower age for females. The sume minimum age applies to both sexes in 8 States * when parental consent is required, and in 16 States when parental consent is not required. Other legal distinctions found are of minor importance, both as to number and character; for example, two States (Louisiana, Texas) require premarital health tests of male applicants only. One State (Louisiana) bars remarriage of a woman for a 10-month period after dissolution of her marriage. Divorce
Sixteen States may grant a divorce to the husband on grounds that are exclusive to him. The principal ground in this group is the wife's undisclosed pregnancy by another at the time of marriage. Twenty-one States? may grant a divorce to the wife on grounds that are exclusive to her, generally the husband's desertion or nonsupport. Parent and child
Thirty-four States & give both parents the same rights of natural guardianship. Fourteen States and the District of Columbia prefer the father as natural guardian during the marriage, giving him the first right to custody of his minor child's person, services, and earnings. If the marriage is broken by divorce or legal separation, neither parent has any legal advantage over the other as to custody of the minor children. The best interests of the child guide the court's disposition of its custody.
Six States 1o and the District of Columbia by statute prefer the fath when a guardian of property is to be appointed for his child.
Nine States 11 authorize the father to appoint a guardian, by deed or last will, to have charge of the person of his minor child after the father's death, subject, however, in each of these States, to the mother's right to succeed the father as natural guardian of their minor children if she is the survivor. No State permits a father to will his child to a stranger without the mother's valid consent.
4 Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.
5 Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
8 Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas. Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hamp, shire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
7 Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
8 Arizona, California. Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
"Alabama, Arkansas, Coloroda, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.
10 Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, and Texas.
11 Arizona, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont.
Seven " of the thirteen " States that authorize the surviving parent to appoint a testamentary guardian for a minor child's property provide that during the marriage the father may make the appointment with the mother's written consent.
Unmarried parents. The mother is considered the natural guardian entitled to the custody of the child. The father becomes a natural guardian according to the law of the State only if he legally acknowledges his relationship to the child.
Inheritance by parents from hildren.- No distinction exists between the of the father and mother to inherit from legitimate children. Most States allow the unmarried mother to inherit from her child. Nine " States permit the unmarried father to share the inheritance when he has legally acknowledged or adopted the child. Family support
Generally, the States under community-property law (see footnote 28) make the common estate of husband and wife liable for family support, without relieving the husband as head of the family from his liability for its proper care. The remaining States and the District of Columbia, under common-law rule in this respect, hold the husband and his property primarily liable for family support. In 21 of these States the wife and her property are declared liable also for family necessaries, but without changing the husband's primary obligation.
Ten States 18 require the wife to support her husband out of her separate property when he has no property and because of infirmity is unable to support himself.
Unmarried parents.-In general, the mother is primarily liable for support of the child. Most States have legal procedure for establishing paternity if satisfactory proof is submitted. Until the paternity is established or voluntarily assumed, the father has no legal obligation to support the child, or to contribute to the expenses of the mother at childbirth. Four States " have no statutory provision of this type.
CONTRACT AND PROPERTY LAW
Power to make contracts
All States apparently recognize a married woman's legal capacity to contract her personal services in employment outside her home duties, and to collect her earnings from such work without the formal consent of her husband.
Four State 1s have limitations on the power of a married woman of legal age to make enforceable contracts with third persons that do not concern her separate property or the common property of herself and husband.
Eight 19 of the community-property States do not ordinarily empower a wife to contract alone concerning the common marital property, though the husband has extensive powers of sole contract, particularly over the personal property owned in common.
Five States > forbid a wife to obligate herself as surety for her husband.
Five States a limit to some extent because of sex the appointment of a woman to positions of trust, such as executor or administrator.
Six States 22 may impose special restrictions on a woman who marries while serving in these offices of trust. Ownership, control, and use of property
Separate property.—In property management and control, inheritance, and freedom of enjoyment of earnings, unmarried women and unmarried men stand equal under the law. Married women in most States have the same degree of control over their separate property that married men have over their separate
12 Arizona, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah.
13 Arizona, California, Delaware. Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma. Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utalı.
14 Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
15 Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho. Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota. Utah. Washington. West Virginia, and Wyoming.
18 California. Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
17 Ida ho, Missouri, Texas, ard Virginia. 18 Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Texas. 19 Arizona, California, Idaho. Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington. 20 Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, and New Hampshire. 21 Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Dakota. 22 Delaware, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah.