Document 5: Iowa ERA Coalition, "Iowa Equal Rights Amendment," 1980. Folder: Printed Materials, Box 8, Iowa ERA Coalition Collection, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Introduction

       This brochure demonstrates the campaign's decision to address the concerns of voters who feared dramatic change in gender arrangements. Much like the Coalitions other brochures, this attempts to assuage the fears of Iowa Citizens that the ERA will not affect social relationships within the household. The brochure illustrates that the amendment will only change the legal status of women while maintaining that men and women are fundamentally different. Addressing the Christian Coalitions and other conservative groups attacks, the brochure assures the reader that women and men will not have to share living quarters, bathrooms or prison cells under the ERA. Traditional family structures will not be violated according to the Coalition, and neither will gender roles.

IOWA EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

WHAT DOES THE IOWA EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT SAY?

       All men and women are, by nature, free and equal and have certain inalienable rights -- among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.  Neither the state nor any of its political subdivisions shall, on the basis of gender, deny or restrict the equality of rights under the law.

HOW WILL THE IOWA EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT BECOME A PART OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION?

       The people of Iowa will vote for the Iowa ERA in the general election on November 4, 1980.  The Iowa ERA was passed by a Democrat controlled state legislature in 1978 and a Republican controlled legislature in 1979. Now it must receive a majority vote on November 4, 1980.

WHY DO WE NEED AN IOWA EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT?

       The Iowa Equal Rights Amendment would guarantee legal equality for all of the citizens of the State of Iowa, both men and women.  Although most Iowa laws have been changed to provide equality for sexes, the State ERA is necessary to assure that any existing discriminatory laws are changed and that future legislation remains consistent with the principle of equality.

HOW WILL THE IOWA ERA AFFECT THE STATUS OF THE FULL-TIME HOMEMAKER?

       The Iowa ERA will not affect the status of a homemaker except when the marriage is ended by death of the spouse or dissolution.  At that time the Equal Rights Amendment would reinforce the important contribution of the homemaking spouse to the family.

HOW WILL THE ERA AFFECT ALIMONY AND CHILD SUPPORT?

       It will not change either.  The present state alimony and child support laws are non-discriminatory in that they include men and women under the same conditions.

HOW WILL THE ERA AFFECT FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS?

       The Iowa ERA will not interfere with personal relationships in a family.  It only affects legal relationships.  Families will still decide who will work outside the home, who will care for the children, and how family decisions are made.

WILL MEN AND WOMEN HAVE TO USE THE SAME BATHROOMS, AND SLEEP IN THE SAME BARRACKS, PRISON CELLS, AND DORMITORIES?

       Absolutely not.  The Supreme Court has ruled on the right of privacy (e.g., Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965).  “Equality under the law” does not mean that the sexes must be regarded as identical; states would retain the power to require segregations of the sexes in order to maintain an individual’s right to privacy.

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