Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 7, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 01/07/2014

Lack of protections

I always take note of and am usually given thought by Loraine Anderson’s columns, including the one published Dec. 1 regarding civil rights. However, I found one group missing: the female gender.

A primary meaning of “civil” refers to “citizens or … state as a political body.” Yet, the U.S. Supreme Court has very rarely applied the 14th Amendment to U.S. females (while applying it for males, minority races and aliens).

Thus, U.S. female citizens’ only constitutional protection lies with the 19th Amendment (women’s suffrage) plus state and/or federal legislation. The latter can be changed by subsequent legislators, not to mention a hodgepodge of laws from one state to another likely.

Martha Griffiths did what she could by lobbying for and getting women — as a class —included in the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964. She once said her co-legislators indulged her though many didn’t see the need to include gender. That “indulgence” showed another meaning of the word civil: courteous.

The reason the 14th Amendment does not work for us is that, unlike Section 1 where the word “persons” is used, Section 2 of the amendment uses “male inhabitants.”

Lois F. Golightly

Traverse City

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