Two things I noticed today:
- Kate Brown became Oregon’s 38th governor today. She is the second woman in Oregon history and first openly-LGBT person in United States history to take office as governor (Jim McGreevey of New Jersey came out as gay in his announcement of resignation after two years in office).
- In November 2014, Oregon passed a state-level Equal Rights Amendment, becoming the 22nd state (since California in 1879) to pass a constitutional amendment banning discrimination on the basis of sex.
I find it gratifying that women in Oregon are making such strides, particularly to enshrine such “equality under the law” on the basis of sex into their constitution.
Unfortunately, even after the unsuccessful fight for the federal ERA in the 1970s and after so long since the Nineteenth Amendment’s passage in 1920, these 22 states (and their various extensions of protection from mere employment to full equality under the law) stand alone out of so many states which have not constitutionally-enshrined gender anti-discrimination law. We don’t have such protection which could greatly benefit the future of half the U.S. population enshrined into the majority of constitutional documents in this country.
Why can’t we in the other 28 states spell out equality in the sexes to our states’ residents through the second highest laws of our states? Why are we so reticent to spell out gender equality? Do we even believe in the government recognizing our equality, or are we still ruled by people who represent the interests and privileges of half the population of our states?
And then we wonder why New Hampshire can’t bring forward a constitutional amendment to define equality for all sexual orientations?
Our collective mindset is our most potent enemy. We must change that mindset at all levels.
Congrats to Oregon and Gov. Kate Brown!