Document 40: Connecticut Committee for the Equal Rights Amendment, "The Rocky Path of Equal Rights," Hartford Courant, 21 July 1953, Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt Papers, 1885-1961, A-61, Box 4, Folder 69, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


   Kitchelt's interpretation of the ERA as compatible with "special legislation" was smoothly incorporated in this summary of the history of the ERA by Connecticut's leading newspaper. This editorial probably appeared at Florence Kitchelt's urging. She knew the Courant's editor, Maurice Sherman, and frequently corresponded with him. For an earlier letter urging his editorial support for the ERA, see Document 10.


The Hartford Courant


Hartford, Connecticut

JULY 21, 1953


    It was in 1923 that Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas, later Vice President under President Hoover, first introduced the Equal Rights amendment to the Constitution. That was shortly after the Nineteenth Amendment had given women the vote. The new proposal followed from a drive . . . to sweep away all remaining legal discriminations against their sex. [The amendment reads "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex".]

    Some of the opposition is backward-looking, for among the "protections" the amendment would get rid of are provisions in several states prohibiting women from serving on juries, restricting the right of a married woman to make a contract, and like matters. But opposition also comes from those of less archaic outlook. Thus Senator Lehman of New York, for example, pointed out the other day that passage of the amendment risked doing away with some of the legal discriminations in favor of women enacted in states like New York.

    Actually all this confuses the issue. In fact it is hard to understand what the fuss is all about. The position of women has changed with the years, and all this amendment would do is recognize in the Constitution the simple fact that our society considers men and women to be legal equals. The objections to the amendment are a survival from the thinking of a century ago, when women not only could not vote, but were ineligible for public office, and when a husband could restrain his wife's personal freedom, or punish her for disobedience to his commands. Where special legislation is necessary to protect women it should be embodied in statute law, just as is special protection for men when the conditions of their work or other factors make it desirable.

    Sensible as it is, the Equal Rights amendment has never been presented to the House, but to the Senate twice. The Senate passed it again the other day, though with an amendment that virtually undoes all that is sought in it. So it goes. Well, it took 50 years[A] to give women the vote. Let us hope that, long before 1973, the Equal Rights amendment will have been accepted as a matter of course.

51 Mill Rock Road, New Haven 11, Connecticut


A. Acually, from the first Woman's Rights Convention in 1848 to the ratification of the woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution in 1920, the struggle continued just 72 years.
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