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Breakthrough 1976-01
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Breakthrough 1976-01 - Page 1. January 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 17, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/303/show/287.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(January 1976). Breakthrough 1976-01 - Page 1. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/303/show/287

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Breakthrough 1976-01 - Page 1, January 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 17, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/303/show/287.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title Breakthrough 1976-01
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date January 1976
Description Vol. 1 No. 1
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 16 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 1
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_513a.jpg
Transcript H q i i O <. Hi V [ Vol. 1 JNo. 1 Complimentary copy January 1976 NOW challenges Stevens "This is the Douglas seat and you just don't give it to anybody." That was the sentiment expressed by NOW President Karen DeCrow, herself a lawyer, when she learned in late November that John Paul Stevens, a jurist who has consistently failed in his legal opinions to recognize the issue of women's equal rights, had been nominated by President Ford to replace Senior Justice William O.Douglas on the U.S. Sup-, reme Court. Throughout his legal career Justice Douglas, a liberal and nonconformist, had been an ally of women's causes. He voted for an end to anti-abortion laws. He opposed involuntary sterilization of welfare mothers. He was a strong adversary against sex discrimination. As DeCrow said, this was the Douglas seat and it could not be given to just anybody. Douglas' seat was given to a man who will likely join the Nixon court in reversing the liberal tide dating back to Earl Warren. In the December Senate confirmation hearings, Stevens said he was more concerned about discrimination against Blacks than against women. "NOW is disgusted at this blatant example of the white male power structure pitting women against minority males and making us all scramble for the crumbs of power," DeCrow said. "The NOW board is profoundly shocked that President Ford is not able to see the significance not only of not appointing a woman to the bench but of appointing a man who is so against women's rights that he does not even understand the issues of civil rights for women in 1975." Although he told the Senate he believed in "the equality of the sexes," Stevens has done his best to see that the Equal Rights Amendment has a rocky road to ratification. In Illinois, he wrote an opinion in which he said that that state could require a three- fifths vote—rather than a simple majority—of the Legislature to pass the ERA. Stevens' ruling consequently made possible the defeat of the ERA in Illinois. In another anti-feminist decision, Stevens dissented from the majority opinion which held that United Air Lines could not fire women flight at- tendents simply because they got married. In a case involving hair codes and dress codes, Stevens wrote that students should know their styles may offend their elders. "That line of reasoning made me Father given child custody "Don't punish Mary Jo Risher because she is a homosexual and more important, don't punish Richard Risher because his mother is homosexual." The plea of attorney Frank Stenger went unheeded. Two days before Christmas, a Dallas domestic relations court jury took Risher's nine-year-old son away from her not because she is an unfit mother, but because she is a lesbian. Testimony from three psychiatrists and the former husband of Risher's lover did not sway the jury. Psychiatrist Neville Murray said the child did not know his mother is homosexual and that to change his custody for a reason unknown to him would be injurious. Dr. Robert Dian said the child would suffer considerable disturbance if forced to leave his mother. He added that the child would survive the separation, but it was not a desirable thing to impose on him. Dr. Delores Dyer testified that the child might encounter some problems because his mother is homosexual; however, she did not believe the problems would be any greater than if the boy lived with his father. Richard Foreman, the former husband of Risher's lover and the father of a 10-year-old girl who lives with the two women, testified he did not think his daughter was being harmed by living with her homosexual mother. The only psychiatrist to offer a different opinion was the court- appointed analyst who told the jury he believed the boy should be given to his father "to insure he would grow into normal, healthy manhood." Risher's fight for the custody of her son has been championed by NOW. "Ms. Risherisbeingdiscriminated against because she is a woman'' said Texas State Coordinator Martha Dickey. "The case is a feminist issue." The Dallas-NOW office's fund- raising drive to help fight the case will be intensified for the appeal of the verdict. A NOW resolution states "an individual's affectional or sexual preference is not a valid basis on which to deny or abridge full legal rights." Counteracting the NOW efforts in Houston is Jeanne Elliott, a defeated Houston City Council candidate and "chairman" of the Houston chapter of Happiness of Womanhood (HOW). Elliott and her group have been raising money to help Richard Risher fight for custody of his son. Risher's lawyer argued that the child would be better off in the ' Tine Christian family atmosphere" of the Risher household despite the fact that Risher had been found guilty of a criminal offense, DWI. (EDITOR'S NOTE: In the next issue of Breakthrough, Susan Caudill, the former Houston Post reporter who is now with KERA- TY\ Dallas, will have an in-depth article on the landmark Risher case.) very nervous for feminists," DeCrow said. In her opinion, practically every women's issue that will go before the Supreme Court will "offend the elders, will offend somebody's idea of behavior for women and men NOW criticizes Stevens' legal opinions on women's issues because they are based on apparent personal philosophy—not on the facts and laws of the cases before him. The White House, however, praises Stevens for being a legal conservative and for being "strongly bound by precedent." One would question anyone who is "strongly bound by precedent." There was once a precedent to deny women the right to vote; there was once a precedent for legal slavery and lynchings; there was once a precedent for segregation; there was once a precedent against abortion; and, without the ERA, there is still a precedent against equal rights for women. The Supreme Court Justice is perhaps the most powerful public servant. That person has the duty of interpreting the Constitution and, while presidents are limited to two terms in office, Supreme Court justices are appointed for life. History has demonstrated that one out of every four justices appointed to the court serves at least two decades—a generation. Stevens, who is 55 years old, can expect to stay on the court from 20 to 30 years. Despite his conservative opinions, Stevens, an admitted strict constructionist, had only minimal opposition to his nomination from citizens' groups. The Senate confirmed his nomination 98-0. The strongest protest to his confirmation came from NOW. The following is a portion of the NOW testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. My name is Margaret Drachsler speaking for the National Organization for Women (NOW), an organization of 60,000 women, with over 700 chapters throughout the country. I am here to express my grave concern regarding both the nomination of John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court and the manner in which it was accomplished. This appointment was made by a President who has not been elected to the Presidency and who was never elected to any office by a constituency larger than a Congressional District. Each member of this Committee has a statewide constituency. At the outset, NOW wishes to ex-. press the feelings of millions of women and men today: it is time to have women on the Supreme Court. After 200 years of living under laws written, interpreted, and enforced exclusively by men, we have a right to be judged by a court representative of all people—more than half of whom are women. The President owes us a duty to begin to eliminate the 200 years of Continued on page 12 Film grant offered In the December issue of Houston Town & Country magazine writer Harla Kaplan quotes filmmaker Janice Blue as saying: "Film is a social tool. There is a real need for women filmmakers now that we have demystified the technology of films and the mystery of the camera. We have a responsibility to use those tools to document our lives — if women don't, no one else will." To break down one of the barriers to women becoming filmmakers BREAKTHROUGH in collaboration with the Rice Media Center will ofTer a tuition ($250) plus film (up to $200) scholarship to the Media Center's evening Community Film Workshop course to a woman who presents the best documentary project dealing with the changing role of women in society today. It may be a portrait of one woman, a project examining a group of women, or one on the relationships of women to men, other women, their families or co-workers. You do not need to send a resume, or show a portfolio of photographs or bring a film in hand. All you need is a serious commitment to communicate via film what is happening to women in the dramatic social changes of the 1970's. This may be done in a 1-3 page project description. In collaborating with the editors of BREAKTHROUGH on this project, James Blue, co-director of the Rice Media Center said, "I think it's very important that women, minorities, and other interest groups have access to the tools of communication and use them. The Community Film Workshop course is designed to give a practical introduction and instruction on the use of those tools." The evening course will begin in mid-February and will run throughout the semester. Students will work in Super-8 and l 2" videotape. Women interested in the film scholarship should send a project description to BREAKTHROUGH by February 4. The editorial staff of the newspaper will make the decision based on the written material submitted by the applicant. The film student and project will be reported on in the March issue.