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The House Judiciary Committee in the Seventy-ninth Congress recognized the need for this amendment and reported it favorably for the consideration of the House of Representatives.
I sincerely urge that this committee again permit the equal-rights amendment to be placed upon the calendar so that it may be acted upon in the Eightieth Congress.
STATEMENT OF HON. TOBY MORRIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE
STATE OF OKLAHOMA
Hon. CHAUNCEY W. REED,
Suite 346, House Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. REED AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE : I am sure that we are all familiar with the fact that the Republican national platform in 1944, among other things, provided :
"We favor submission by Congress to the States of an amendment to the Constitution providing for equal rights for men and women.
“We favor job opportunities in the postwar world open to men and women alike without discrimination in rate of pay because of sex.”
The Democratic national platform of the same year, among other things, provided :
"We favor legislation assuring equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.
"We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment on equal rights for women."
I believe these pledges should be faithfully kept and, with you permission, I desired to file this statement with you committee to the effect that I wholeheartedly support this fundamental measure endorsed by both Republican and Democratic platforms. I sincerely hope that an amendment to the Constitution along this line will soon be a reality. Respectfully yours,
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM LEMKE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE
STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appear in behalf of House Joint Resolution 62, equal-rights amendment. On February 27, 1947, the State Legislature of North Dakota passed a joint resolution petitioning Congress to pass the equal-rights amendment. The members of the State legislature expressed the will of the people. I wholeheartedly accept and endorse that sentiment. I realize that my State and some of the other States have given to women practically all the rights that men have. On the other hand, I know that there are some States that do not go all the way.
There has been a lot said for and against this resolution. There have been a lot of suggestions that the passage of this resolution would deprive women of some of their rights. I feel that these arguments are based entirely upon unwarranted assumption and misapprehension. They are the same arguments that were made against equal suffrage.
The struggle for freedom, for political economic rights and privileges has been a long one for both men and women. There is no reason that in the twentieth century women should not enjoy the same rights as men, rights that pertain to their own betterment and welfare. I, therefore, respectfully request that this committee report this resolution favorably.
STATEMENT ON EQUAL RIGHTS BY Hox. MARGARET CHASE SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MAINE
Many inquiries come to me asking my attitude on an amendment to the Constitution which would give men and women equal rights in the United States.
This would mean that women would have full privileges and responsibilitiesa principle which I approve. I expect to vote for a bill to that effect if given the opportunity.
STATEMENT OF HON. EDWARD J. DEVITT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA
When the United States Constitution was adopted in 1789 there was no constitution in the world, national or local, and no system of law, which embodied or expressed support of the principle of equality of the sexes. Since 1789 there has been a steady growth of support for this principle, both at home and abroad. Practically all of the new constitutions that have been adopted by the nations since World War I contained a declaration for equal rights for men and women. The movement for equality of rights for men and women has now reached a point where the United States is one of the few countries without a declaration for equality of rights for women in its fundamental governing law.
The United Nations Charter opens with the declaration : "We the peoples of the United Nations determined
to reaffirm faith in fundamental rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women
have agreed to the present charter of the United Nations."
Five other places in the charter contain a similar declaration in support of equal rights for men and women. When the United States ratified the United Nations' Charter August 8, 1945, it gave its approval to all parts of the charter, including the declaration for equal rights for men and women, and is in honor bound to bring its own laws into harmony with this declaration. The simplest, speediest, and most direct way to do so would be by the adoption of the equal. rights amendment.
More women are mobilized at the present time back of the equal-rights amendment than were organized in support of the suffrage amendment at the time of its passage. Over 30 national organizations of women, with an approximate membership of 10 million women, have gone on record, officially, in support of the amendment, including the National Woman's Party, the American Medical Women's Association, the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and the National Association of Women Lawyers. The executive board of the National Council of Women of the United States, a clearing house for women with over 52 million affiliated members, has called upon Congress to submit the amendment to the States. In addition, the great National Education Association, with a membership of both men and women, has endorsed the amendment.
Both major political parties in their 1944 platforms approved the passage of an equal-rights amendment by Congress. This present Congress is the last opportunity the political parties will have to carry out their 1944 pledges, as new platforms will be written in 1948.
The equal-rights amendment is necessary in order to establish the principle of equal rights for men and women as one of the fundamental principles underlying our system of law, in place of the old common-law theory of the subordinate position of women which at present is still the basic theory underlying our legal system relating to women.
The present critical world situation makes it particularly imperative to give to women a legal status equal to that of men. This would mean for women an increased dignity, increased self-confidence, increased feeling of responsibility, and increased power, which would enable them to take a more effective part in serving their country and the world.
The Constitution of the United States will some day contain a declaration for equality for men and women. If the principle of equal rights for men and women is to be established eventually as one of the basic principles of our Government, there seems no reason for delay. “Justice delayed is justice denied."
Some of those who oppose the equal-rights amendment support the so-called Wadsworth bill, H. R. 2007. My observation with reference to that bill is that it is of doubtful constitutionality and would not serve as a suitable substitute as an equal-rights amendment to the Constitution. It seems to me there is no reason to establish a commission to make a further study of the status of women. The subject of women's rights has been thoroughly studied and its appears to me that it is now time for action on the question and that action can best be taken through a recommendation for the equal-rights amendment.
STATEMENT OF MRS. HARVEY W. WILEY, CHAIRMAN, LEGISLATION, DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS, MARCH 6, 1948
The District of Columbia Federation of Women's Clubs, with a membership of approximately 6,000, has been on record since 1935 for the inclusion in the Constitution of the United Siates of the equal-rights amendment reading :
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress and the several States shall have the power within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. This amendment shall take effect 3 years after the date of ratification."
We are convinced that this simply worded amendment is the best and quickest way to bring about the emancipation of American women from the obsolete laws and practices which discriminate against them. Such laws and practices relate to the contractual and property rights of married women, guardianship and custody of minor children, appointment to fiduciary positions, jury service, employment of women, and wages. Adoption of the amendment will be the first essential step toward abolishing unfair legal discriminations. It will have a valuable psychological effect in helping to eradicate other discriminations.
We believe that labor laws should be based on the nature of the work and not on the sex of the worker. Some people oppose the amendment because of a desire to preserve restrictive labor laws applying exclusively to women. The Supreme Court in the Darby Lumber case in 1941 held that maximum-hour and minimumwage legislation may be applied to both men and women. Experience has shown that when employment is scarce labor laws differentiating between men and women workers handicap women's employment. We feel that equality of rights under the law for women is a principle which should be incorporated into our Constitution because it is a basic human right.
We do not approve the resolution introduced in the Senate and House by Senator Taft and Representative Wadsworth, respectively (S. J. Res. 67, H. R. 2007), to establish a commission for the study of the legal status of women in the United States, because: (1) Such studies have already been made by various groups and agencies, including the General Federation of Women's Clubs, the National Woman's Party, the Women's Bureau, and the Inter-American Commission of Women; (2) asking the States to correct legislation discriminating against women has been ineffective, despite a century of effort on the part of women ; (3) what one legislature grants another may take away; (4) a mandatory provision in the Federal Constitution is the surest way of attaining, equality of rights.
As the highest law-making body of the land. Congress should set the standard for the States by proposing to write into the Federal Constitution a provision to safeguard the basic human rights of all individuals. The preamble to the United Nations Charter, signed by the United States, recognizes as basic the “equal rights of men and women."
Because of the above considerations we earnestly request your favorable action on the equal-rights amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 76, House Resolution 62, and that the amendment be referred to the States.
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN
Statement filed on behalf of the National Education Association by H. Frances
Boyer, of the Legislative-Federal Relations Division of the National Education Association
I represent the National Education Association, which has a present membership of over 400,000 teachers and administrators. Its business is transacted through a representative assembly, boards, committees, and commissions.
Never in the history of our Nation has there been greater need for good teachers. There is no more important field than teaching, because it is in the minds of our Fouth, through basic training in the meaning of the American way of life, that the security of our Nation is guaranteed. The majority of teachers are women. From 1935 to 1944 one of our active committees was the committee on equal opportunity to deal with questions pertaining to discrimination between the rights of men and women, and to examine other discriminatory practices to which teachers. might be subjected. For years one of the most important planks in the association's platform was "equal pay for equal work” and as a result of the efforts of the National Education Association many school systems abolished the differentials in salaries between men and women teachers.
Many of our members felt we should go further than this, and the question of equal rights for men and women as embodied in the amendment to the Constitution was studied thorouglıly by the committee on equal opportunity. Arguments for and against the proposal were carefully weighed. Finally, at the meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa., in July 1944, the equal-rights amendment was endorsed by the representative assembly of the National Education Association in the following resolution:
"That the National Education Association endorse an amendment to the Con. stitution guaranteeing equal rights for men and women in the United States."
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE EQUAL-RIGHTS AMENDMENT (H. J. RES. 62) BY
DOROTHY ASHBY MONCURE, ATTORNEY AT LAW, D. C., REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL WOMAN'S PARTY
The National Woman's Party urges that the proposed equal-rights amendment to the Constitution (H. J. Res. 62) be reported with a favorable recommendation to the House of Representatives.
We also urge that the Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee submit its favorable recommendation with a written report analyzing and summarizing the law to show in exact detail the constitutional defect which prevents our Government from rendering full, complete, and adequate services to the people, men and women alike.
The equal-rights amendment reads:
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged' by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
"Congress and the several States shall have power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
“This amendment shall take effect 3 years after being ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States."
To assist the subcommittee in drafting its report we make the following statements:
The equal-rights movement is not new. Women were endeavoring to get civil rights in England at the time this country was settled by the English. The Supreme Court library exhibits a book on equal rights published in 1632 in London, Section VII, page 128, is entitled “The Baron may beate his wife." One paragraph contains the sentence “Justice Brooke 12 H(enry) fo. 4 affirmith plainly that if a man beat an outlaw, a traitor, a pagan, his villein, or his wife it is dispunishable because by the law common these persons can have no action. God send gentle-women better sport or better companie.”
The reason the wife could not sue, nor be sued, was because the common law made the husband head of the family and vested in him management and control of the family. The family consisted of the husband, wife, children, and family property and income. The common law still prevails today in the United States. The rule of law that the husband is the head of the family is a part of the statutory laws of both common-law and community-property States. There has been no basic change in the rule that the family is a legal entity and not a group of individuals.
Marriage is not bondage for the husband. No servitude is imposed on him because he continues free to manage and control himself and his affairs. His powers over the wife which are vested in him by law make him a master and the wife a slave. The Declaration of Independence declared that all men are born free and equal but did not include women. No nation can be free if managed and controlled by another nation. No person can be free is managed and controlled by another person. Management and control by the husband extends to the person of the wife and nothing she does can be done without his express or implied consent except to the extent his powers are modified by the Stateenabling laws.
An amendment to the Constitution is a covenant between and among the States and the United States. The purpose of the equal-rights amendment is to endow women with civil rights, emancipate them from coverture, and to convert the present special protection enabling laws of the States into inherent rights under the Constitution.
Neither the body of the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights apply to women. No amendment except the suffrage amendment enfranchising women applies. It will take a new covenant to endow women with civil rights.
As stated by the Supreme Court in Fay v. New York (June 23, 1947), the right of women to due process of law and equal protection of the law “has achieved constitutional compulsion on the States only in the grant of the franchise by the nineteenth amendment.
Enfranchi ment proves residence or domicile but does not establish citizenship. Citizenship is governed by the country of birth or naturalization and is proved by a birth or naturalization certificate.
The suffrage amendment did not bring women within the intent of the fourteenth annendment, applicable to the States, or the fifth amendment, applicable to the United States, nor did it affect the provisions of either.
Section I of the fourteenth amendment provides that all persons born or naturalized in the United States shall be citizens thereof and of the State in which they reside: no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and that all persons shall be entitled to equal protection of the law. Section 2 provides that if any male person is denied the right to vote, the representation of the denying State shall be cut down proportionately.
When the fourteenth amendment was adopted, the racial slaves already had been freed by the civil war and subsequent Presidential proclamation. That amendment, a covenant between and among the States and the United States, recognized the male former slaves as free, independent, and responsible persons and endowed them with civil rights, but the female former slaves were not so recognized and were left in the same unrecognized position as other women.
In order to be recognized as a citizen, a person must be free, independent, and responsible. Women have been in a condition of servitude under the masterslave marriage laws since the beginning of civilization when man began making laws.
At the time the Constitution was drafted, married women were the personal property of husbands and no power over property was transferred by the States to the United States except over foreign and domestic commerce. Regulation of marriage and women was left to the States. The States delegated all powers of control of women to husbands under the marriage laws by vesting in him all essential elements of ownership. Upon a woman becoming a wife, she had no freedom, independence, or responsibility. Women were then, and are now, romanced into slavery. The law makes the marriage altar a slave block. The harsh marriage laws and not the easy divorce laws result in three out of five marriages being dissolved today.
The fact that husbands are charged with responsibilities of support is no sufficient justification for denial to wives of civil rights. Any person can discharge responsibilities if someone else performs the obligations for them. By their domestic services and financial contributions wives assist in the discharge of the bushands' maintenance and support responsibilities.
That wives have never been emancipated is evidenced by the Supreme Court decisions that wives cannot be equal business partners with husbands in the same sense as third persons. Conversion of the master-slave marital status into one of equal partnership would enable wives to be equal business partners with husbands probably without qualification. It would also enable the United States to respect State laws for Federal tax purposes.
Another evidence of the servitude of wives is that in Florida and Texas wives must be emancipated by court order to perform certain business functions.
The State enabling laws (special privileges) entitling married women to sue or be sued, to manage and control their own property, to serve on juries, and to have a voice in management and control of their children are only limitations on the husbands' powers of management and control. They evidence women's present legal and economic condition of servitude and that the States are under no constitutional compulsion to recognize these special priviles as matters of inherent rights.
The equal-rights amendment will not prohibit “alimony.” This term as commonly used refers to two types of payments upon legal separation or divorce. They are property settlements and dependency payments. With marriage on equal-partnership basis, an accounting or property settlement will be required on termination of marriage. Dependency payments are based on the family support laws. They even require a child to support an indigent parent if the child is financially able. The courts will not sever the marriage without first