By Nate Peterson
(Nate is the host of the political podcast “Let’s Get Drunk and Talk About It“. The views expressed in the piece do not reflect the views of R2D.)
Amanda Chase – the Mrs. Waterford of Phyllis Schlafly’s
Today marked an historic occasion. The Virginia Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment, raising the possibility that Virginia could be the state to finally gets this piece of legislation ratified. And to no one’s surprise, one of the senators voting against its passage was none other than God’s favorite state senator, Amanda Chase.
Senator Amanda Chase has a knack for being on the wrong side of history. In her defense, she doesn’t differ greatly from her fellow state Republicans in that most of her positions are absolutely bonkers and the votes she’s cast should never have seen made by any politician elected after the second world war, but here are some of my favorites:
SJ 6 – Authorized the Board of Education to establish Charter Schools – voted for
Charter Schools don’t work. Ask the Finns, creators of the most successful educational system in the world, how many private or charter schools they have.
SB 106 – Allowed for no-excuse in-person absentee voting – voted against
The only people who want less citizens voting are the ones who’d lose an election if more people made it to the polls. I.e. nonsense politicians like Amanda Chase.
SB 12 – Would have prevented discrimination in the public sector based on gender identity or sexual orientation – voted against
Amanda clearly wants to fire DMV employees because they’re gay or trans. Why the party of free markets and limited government intervention is obstructing laws that prevent the government from interfering with your choice of sexual partner is a truly mind boggling juxtaposition.
I only bring up Amanda’s horrid voting record to highlight the absurdity of her recent editorial and to point out how her history of voting like it’s 1860 is longer than the Dark Ages.
Allow me to break down the more the ludicrous parts of her Phyllis Schlafly-inspired blather.
First off, the ERA is laughably short.
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The congress shall have the power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
Amanda Chase claims to have “read the fine print; And I’m offended!”. I have read this amendment 10 times in the last 2 minutes. It is a very short amendment. I do not see any fine print. That is the entirety of the text. Please, dear reader. notify me if you can see the words that so triggered the Senator that I am apparently incapable of seeing.
“In reading the article itself the word “woman” or “female” is not even mentioned. Instead the term “sex” is used. Yet we are led to believe this amendment is for women. Wake up women! This amendment is not about you.”
It is very easy to see why Senator Chase is upset by the amendment’s use of the word sex. She’s worried that one day, Supreme Court Justice Merrick Garland (god willing) is going to interpret sex as gender/gender identity. And based on her vote against prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in housing practices (SB 67 for the wonks), she’s clearly worried that one day, those in the trans community won’t be evicted for being trans. And that’s just not the kind of world Ms. Chase wants her children to grow up in.
Brace yourselves for this one folks, because this next section should have prevented her from ever holding public office in a state where the average IQ is 101.9.
“Let’s stop and think about that for a minute. If the law no longer allows public colleges, businesses, places of employment to differentiate between male and female, here’s what you can expect:
Need to take a shower after a workout at the gym? Don’t expect to cleanup in a safe protected place. It’s now illegal.”
She has a point here. If the ERA becomes ratified, there will be one douchebag (my money’s on one of the editors of “The Federalist”) who tries to use the women’s shower at a Gold’s Gym, the staff will kick him to the curb, and he will sue to try and make Senator Chase’s point. Then Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who is now 102, god willing), will laugh him out of the courtroom and Clarence Thomas will place the dissenting vote in that 8 to 1 decision that effectively eliminates any further troll lawsuits to the ERA from bad faith actors.
“If you’re already concerned about sending your teenage daughter away to college, now imagine that she’s sharing a bedroom with another teenage boy. Because the law would no longer allow the college to differentiate between men and women. Why? Because it’s now illegal.”
This won’t happen. The conclusion itself is so batshit insane that discussing it as a logical possibility makes society dumber BUT even if you can imagine some far fetched supreme court decision that essentially declares non co-ed dormitories illegal (I give it the same statistical likelihood that I give Amanda Chase of ever holding statewide office), no college would ever mandate that you have to live with someone of the opposite gender. Once you’ve been accepted into university housing, the decision of where to house you would never be an issue for a discrimination lawsuit because you were already approved to have university housing!
“Women of domestic violence and abuse will be the real casualties of this amendment. Already fearing for their lives, they will now have an additional fear of not being able to safely use a protected “women’s only” dressing room or bathroom. Why will there be no safe spaces for women and young girls? Because it would be illegal.”
Once again, a farcical premise. But were one to take this as a serious possibility, what company would seriously just tell every man woman and child to use the same restroom? If this sort of inane legislative conclusion were forced on us (which, once again, it won’t be), then the bathrooms would likely be made into single units with their own toilet AND sink. Which would actually be an improvement! No more having to pull your pants up with the hand you just used to wipe your ass.
“Women’s scholarships, women’s colleges, women’s sports, women’s locker rooms and bathrooms will all be a tradition of the past, exposing women to increased incidences of rape and sexual violence.”
More blatant fear mongering from the senator. HIDE YO WIFE HIDE YO KIDS. I give Amanda credit here. At least she’s being a tad more subtle than the other conservative “intellectuals” who just come out blatantly with “Transgendered people are going to attack you in the bathroom”, which is the obvious subtext here. Numerous studies have shown that those in the trans community are infinitely more likely to be the victims of sexual assault than the perpetrators. So let’s retire that talking point right out of the gate.
The notion that the ERA would make separate bathrooms or locker rooms illegal (sidenote – would single-use changing rooms be so bad? I mean, yeah, it would take a little longer for everyone to get back into pants at the end of your water polo match, but on the flipside you never have to see that one guy’s penis who never puts a towel on when he’s changing), once again, is ludicrous. No country that has passed equal protection on the basis of sex has eliminated separate restrooms. I refuse to spend anymore time discussing it like it’s a serious possibility. This is a blatant attempt to scare suburban housewives into voting Republican because “all those liberals want the lacrosse players to shower with your daughter” (once again, an asinine idea with about as much chance as becoming law as Amanda Chase has of becoming Governor).
Her last section can be summed up simply as, “Look, women are lawyers and elected officials now and they did that without the ERA.” She of course neglects that that likely would not have happened without Ruth Bader Ginsburg convincing the Supreme Court in Reed vs. Reed that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment should be applied to cases of gender discrimination in addition to racial discrimination. But the 14th amendment’s foundations are rocky, as RBG herself explained in Volume 1979 of the Washington University Law Review:
“When the post-Civil War amendments were added to the Constitution, women were not accorded the vote, the right now regarded by the Supreme Court as most basic to adult citizenship. Married women in many states could not contract, hold property, litigate on their own behalf, or even control their own earnings. The fourteenth amendment left all that untouched. To the nineteenth century jurist, change in women’s status, alteration of laws restricting a woman’s options, was state business, not fit subject matter for federal statutory or constitutional
Finally, Senator Chase concludes with this wonderful call to action:
“Some say that this is just a failed amendment and passage would do no harm. Regardless, the fine print of this amendment does not protect women for the very fact that it doesn’t specifically mention women in the sole article describing our “so-called” protection. Support, instead, Senate Joint Resolution 275 “Reaffirming Equal Protection under the Law” to show your support for women and how far we’ve come over the past 40 years.”
SJ 275 (hyperlink http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+ful+SJ275) is a resolution that reads like her op-ed minus all the pearl clutching about protecting your daughters from gender neutral restrooms. Blah blah blah, “the guarantees and safeguards provided for under current equal protection laws could be jeopardized if the Equal Rights Amendment is passed” blah blah blah “significant cultural and legal advances have been made since 1972 when the ratification process of the Equal Rights Amendment began, and these advances have contributed to parity for women and men in the workplace, including fair pay and employment security”, you get the idea. And she ends it with this kicker, “RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, That the General Assembly reaffirm that all persons residing in the Commonwealth are afforded equal protection under the law”.
The level of cognitive dissonance it requires to vote against protecting sexual minorities from discrimination in housing/public sector employment while at the same time reaffirming “that all persons residing in the commonwealth are afforded equal protection under the law” is beyond comprehension. But what can we expect from the senator who put pro-life and anti-medicaid expansion in the same platform? Or claims to be support protecting innocent life but voted against a ban on conversion therapy? Or pro-family and and only supports “traditional marriage”? 27,218 people voted for this walking contradiction. Let’s try not to make the same mistake this year.