“Equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender.”
This is the Equal Rights Act as it currently stands. But is this enough?? There is a group of activists in Minnesota that say NO, it’s not! They are working hard to lobby the Minnesota government to include a provision in the 2024 election that asks Minnesota residents to add the Equal Rights Act to their state constitution and for it to read “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state or any of its cities, counties, or other political subdivision on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.”
Some people feel that having the currently stated Equal Rights Act in the National Constitution is enough so they are trying to keep this amendment from being passed. A representative of the Minnesota Family Council wrote a letter stating that “The efforts to revive these bills are not about women’s rights; these bills erase females.” Some feel that because these bills are being all inclusive and including those that are non-binary, transgender and all others in the LGBTQ community that women will lose their female privacy rights in public spaces such as domestic violence shelters and school locker rooms. A representative of the Minnesota Catholic Conference feels that the passing of this amendment will be used as “a sword against people of faith and others who reject the concept of gender identity.”
THOSE IN FAVOR :
Simply put, those in favor believe that all are equal regardless of one’s personal beliefs and lifestyle. Those in favor believe all residents of the state of Minnesota deserve to be viewed equally under the constitution and the law. A 92 year old Minnesota resident said that it’s about time we see every person equal under the law and that we need to create an amendment as they are much more difficult to change than a law is, as we have seen recently with the reversal of Roe vs Wade. A representative from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota stated in her letter that “on average, Minnesota women who work full time all year make $0.79 for every dollar that men make, with further disparities among women depending on race or ethnicity.” demonstrating that we still have a long way to go to make equal rights for all a reality.
MY VIEW :
As a social worker, I am in favor of this addendum to the amendment. Social workers are governed by the NASW Code of Ethics. Two of the guiding principles of the NASW Code of Ethics are “Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.” and “ Social workers challenge social injustice.” Based on these two principles alone, all human beings should be treated the same and given the same consideration under all of our laws in the United States. Changing the Equal Rights Act to reflect these social work principles is one of the first steps to this being implemented. Social work interns make up a large portion of the staff at Daily Works and thus they bring these guiding principles to work every day with their job seekers.
What can you do?
If you believe that Minnesota should provide equal rights for ALL in their constitution, write to our senators, including Senator Ron Latz, at:
1200 Minnesota Senate Building
95 University Avenue W.
Saint Paul, MN 55155