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Breakthrough 1976-03
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Breakthrough 1976-03 - Page 5. March 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 10, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4718.

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.

(March 1976). Breakthrough 1976-03 - Page 5. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4718

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 1976-03 - Page 5, March 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 10, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4718.

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 1976-03
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date March 1976
Description Vol. 1 No. 3
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 5
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_515e.jpg
Transcript Portia's Law By Patti O'Kane During the last three years I have observed an interesting tendency on the part of people both in and outside the legal community to completely ignore the Texas Equal Rights Amendment (TERA). Oh, everyone knows Texas has the amendment, and attempts to challenge its passage are met with ferocious lobbying efforts on the part of feminists. But the focus has shifted from the state level to the national ERA . This, of course, is in part because the f ederal ERA has yet to be ratified. But it is also due to the popular idea that since we were successful in getting our state ERA passed, we can sit back and watch judges, lawyers, police departments, and school districts fall over each other in their haste to implement the letter and spirit of the amendment. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened. Those who most fear the strict equality for women demanded by the TERA, have successfully ignored the amendment hoping, I suppose, that everyone will forget why it was passed or what laws and practices it was meant to change. Since we are accustomed to hearing about the numerous cases using Title VII to challenge sex discrimination in employment, it is amazing to see the paucity of suits brought under the TERA since its passage in 1972. Many of the Texas cases citing our Equal Rights Amendment have, in fact, been brought by male plaintiffs seeking to equalize their treatment in areas where women have traditionally been "favored" by the law. Thus, a suit challenging the practice of automatically awarding attorney's fees to wives but not husbands in divorce suits resulted in a ruling that such a practice was unconstitutional in light of the TERA. Likewise, men have questioned the constitutionality of Texas' support laws requiring wives to support their husbands only when the men are unable to support themselves. Also, the Texas Civil Liberties Union recently appealed a suit brought by a high school boy against his school district, asking the Court of Civil Appeals to declare the male hair length regulations of the school unconstitutional under the TERA. Suits brought under the TERA by male plaintiffs help destroy legal stereotypes about men and women and guarantee that both sexes are treated equally under the law. But because the usual legislative and administrative pattern is to discriminate against women in favor of men, there is a real need for women to begin actively challenging sex discrimination through the TERA. In one of the most recent of the small number of cases brought by women plaintiffs under the TERA, the Court of Civil Appeals in Ft. Worth last fall declared a Texas Women's University regulation allowing only male students to live off campus to be unconstitutional in light of our ERA. The court recognized that there were good reasons for the school to maintain its housing rule, but, nevertheless, found the classification itself discriminatory. Unequal treatment of women by Texas law has had a long and time-honored tradition, and there are few areas of the law, even today, that would be immune to a challenge from women using the TERA as a weapon. The following is an incomplete, but illustrative, list of laws currently in effect in Texas which are unconstitutional because of our Equal Rights Amendment: 1. Statutory provisions providing exemptions from jury service for "females having custody of children under ten." Such an exemption is not made available to males having custody of children under ten, and thus, the statute treats men and women differently. 2. State and Municipal regulations prescribing minimum height and weight qualifications for police and . fire fighter candidates. These types of regulations, although sex-neutral at face value, amount to a virtual disqualification of women and as far as they are not job related, constitute unconstitutional discrimination. 3. Texas penal laws punishing statutory rape of a girl but not a boy. 4. Labor laws limiting required hours of work for female but not male employees. 5. School regulations providing some courses for boys but not girls, or regulations setting up sexual segregation in whole institutions, or in facilities, athletics and courses within those institutions. Plaintiffs in Pennyslvania have been quite successful in using their state ERA to change rules which were set up by schools to keep girls off various sports teams. 6. Texas laws allowing only the husband to declare or abandon the homestead, even against the wife's wishes. 7. Probate code provisions stating that "if the parents live together, the father is the natural guardian of the person of the minor children by the marriage." 8. As mentioned above, Texas support laws requiring unequal duties of support between the husband and wife. Even after it was pointed out that this law conflicted with the TERA. legislators insisted upon keeping it in the newly enacted Family Code. 9. Welfare provisions administered by Texas agencies not allowing AFDC benefits for children whose mother is unemployed and whose father is able to work but chooses to remain home with the children. 10. Industry-wide insurance premium tables that discriminate on the basis of sex. The use by insurance companies of sex as the only actuarial factor in charging different insurance rates has been challenged under other state ERA's and the plaintiffs have succeeded in having the practice declared unconstitutional. The list is far from comprehensive, but it highlights the areas where litigation is needed. As shown by the Texas lawmaker's blatant disregard of the TERA in framing the Family Code, many people seem to wish the TERA would just disappear into the legislative archives, leaving the nice, comfortable, sex discriminatory state laws and regulations intact. It is up to those persons committed to the principal of equality under the law to press for more judicial and legislative recognition of the TERA. Unless we demand constantly, and in every state-regulated area of our lives that sex be removed as a factor in determining the legal rights of women or men in Texas, the Texas system - ignore the TERA and it may go away - will render the badly needed TERA absolutely meaningless. Patti O'Kane is an ACLU attorney and a partner in Houston's first feminist law firm, Gerhardt and O'Kane. Campaign suit filed State Rep. Sarah Weddington, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League, has filed a complaint to try to stop federal matching funds from going into the campaign of Ellen McCormack, a Democratic candidate for president. Weddington, who lodged the complaint Feb. 17 before the Federal Election Commission, has accused McCormack of using the presidential campaign as a device to solicit money for an anti-abortion media blitz. The fetus film clips shown in McCormack commercials were admittedly supplied to the McCormack campaign by the Right to Life group, an association that has as its goal a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion. McCormack, who has been a crusader against laws that permit abortions, has asked the commission to give her matching federal funds for her Candidacv According to Weddington, one of the lawyers who argued successfully before the Supreme Court (Roe v. Wade) for the repeal of abortion laws, McCormack has violated a number of laws such as those governing registration of fund raising political committees with the FEC and the composition of campaign ads. However, Weddington says the most blatant violation is a pattern of campaign techniques designed "to deceive potential contributors by failing to disclose without ambiguity that she is soliciting funds for her presidential candidacy and not for the anti-choice movement." In the league complaint, Weddington alleges that the violations and the deceptive practices are enough to block McCormack's eligibility for federal matching money "even if the candidate and her political committees took action to correct them or if the criminal penalties for these violations were to be imposed." "Our Money's Worth', a workshop on women's financial responsibility, will be held Saturday, March 13 from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. at Rice University. The workshop will be held in the Chemistry Lecture Hall north of the library. The purpose of the workshop is to help women in all incomes learn more about money management-what to do with it and how to make it work for them. "This is a chance for women to get acquainted with their financial potential both for now and in the future," said co- coordinator Mark Delaquaize. "It's basically a primer or overview on money management." Morning workshops will include banking and credit unions, insurance, and investment real estate. Afternoon workshops will include wills and contracts, and residential real estate (how to buy a house). Registration will be held at the lecture hall beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday. The workshops begin at 8:30 a.m. Pre-registration forms are available at the Womenls Center, 3602 Milam, or House of Coleman, 901 W. Alabama. Registration fee is $5. Persons desiring child care should contact Mark Delaquaize at 781-7429 or 666-8U6. "Our Money's Worth" is sponsored by Houston Area NOW and other coordinators include Alice Schrader and Gretchen Stevens. The workshops will be hosted by local businesswomen. SARAH WEDDINGTON Subscribe to Breakthrough 'Several events—a parade and rally and a proclamation of Women's Rights Day—are being planned in Houston in celebration ,of International Women's Day. Mayor Fred Hofheinz will proclaim March 6th as Women's Rights Day in the City of Houston at a press conference in his office March 4th at 10:15 a.m. There will be a Women's Rights Parade on Saturday, March 6 in downtown Houston. Those wishing to join the march should assemble at noon at the corner of Rusk and Louisiana. The focus of the parade is to speed ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.