Equal Rights Amendment

Full Report

Executive Summary
Press Release

 

Draft City Club Report Recommends “No” Vote on Equal Rights Amendment

This measure is purely symbolic and would not increase protections already afforded to Oregonians.

(Portland, Ore.) The City Club of Portland today released a draft research report that recommends Oregon voters reject a proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Oregon Constitution. The measure will appear on the November 4 ballot.

City Club and the research committee firmly support equal rights for all people, regardless of sex. The committee concluded, however, that this measure would not increase protections already afforded to Oregonians.

Opponents, like the ACLU of Oregon, told the committee the measure is unnecessary because “the Oregon Constitution already has the strongest possible protection against sex discrimination and the Oregon Supreme Court has enforced that protection.”

Proponents told the committee that adopting the amendment would be a symbolic victory for the national women’s movement and help advance the cause of adopting an equal rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The majority of the committee concluded those claims are speculative.

“The Oregon Constitution is a foundational legal document that is too often burdened with unnecessary or ad hoc amendments. It is up to the proponents of the measure to show why their amendment would be necessary or beneficial, and they have failed to do so,” the report states.

If approved by City Club members, the recommendation will become one of the earliest and highest-profile endorsements about the measure, which Oregonians will vote on in November.

During a four-month process, a committee of seven City Club member-volunteers interviewed witnesses on both sides of the issue and reviewed relevant documents. The full draft report, which includes a witness list and bibliography, is available online at www.pdxcityclub.org/ballotmeasures-era.

“Voters should amend our state’s fundamental legal document only when there is a need for a substantive change to the law, not for symbolic value,” Committee Chair Des Culpitt said.

Six member-volunteers on the committee endorsed the majority recommendation. One member-volunteer signed a minority report recommending voters adopt the constitutional amendment as a safeguard against future legal interpretations and to protect women’s reproductive rights.

Member-volunteers who served on the committee and supported the majority recommendation were Des Culpitt (chair), Kezia Wanner (vice-chair), Alex Roth (lead writer), Danish Aziz, Sharon Greenfield and Jack MacNichol. The member-volunteer in the minority was Tamara Lise DeRidder. Byron Palmer served as the committee’s research adviser.

City Club members will debate and vote on this and nine other election-related recommendations at a “Ballot-Palooza” from 5:30pm to 9:00pm on Wednesday, August 20 at the Village Ballroom at the Oregon Public House (700 NE Dekum St.). The event will be open to the public, but only City Club members may vote on the recommendations. For more information on the event visit: http://bit.ly/BallotPalooza2014. Outcomes of the votes will be published on the City Club of Portland's website and reported in the City Club Bulletin, released August 26.

This year, City Club’s ballot measure research and recommendation will reach more Oregonians than ever before. Committees started their work earlier than in past election years in order to finish in time for the Club to place its adopted recommendations in the State Voters Pamphlet that will go out to all registered voters prior to the election.
City Club member-volunteers have researched more than 400 state and local ballot measures since 1916. City Club’s Research Board screened all researcher applicants for conflicts of interest, and participants affirmed they are unbiased on the ballot measure they sought to study.

Four months ago, City Club of Portland chose to study nine statewide proposed ballot measures. Today we are also releasing a report on IP 6: Public Funds for Abortion, which did not make it to the ballot. Given national attention to this and similar laws, however, it could return to Oregon someday either on the ballot or in the Legislature. City Club therefore released this report to inform discussion about future efforts. To read the press release and report visit: http://www.pdxcityclub.org/public-funding-abortion.
City Club of Portland brings together civic-minded people to make Portland and Oregon better places to live, work and play for everyone. For more information about City Club of Portland, visit www.pdxcityclub.org or call 503-228-7231. Follow us on twitter @pdxcityclub and on facebook.

Committee Members

Member-volunteers who served on the committee and supported the majority recommendation were Des Culpitt (chair), Kezia Wanner (vice-chair), Alex Roth (lead writer), Danish Aziz, Sharon Greenfield and Jack MacNichol. The member-volunteer in the minority was Tamara Lise DeRidder. Byron Palmer served as the committee’s research adviser.Member-volunteers who served on the committee and supported the majority recommendation were Des Culpitt (chair), Kezia Wanner (vice-chair), Alex Roth (lead writer), Danish Aziz, Sharon Greenfield and Jack MacNichol. The member-volunteer in the minority was Tamara Lise DeRidder. Byron Palmer served as the committee’s research adviser.