The proposed ERA: a Trojan horse to weaken women’s rights

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Minnesota Constitution, more appropriately called the Erosion of Rights Amendment, would diminish hard-earned rights and protections of women and could eliminate conscience rights and religious liberty of all Minnesotans.

If passed by legislators, the ERA would be sent to Minnesota voters as a ballot question during a general election year. The proposed language for the constitutional amendment protects people against a broad range of discrimination, including creed and age, which is not bad. But it goes beyond attempting to protect against basic forms of discrimination to also protect people against discrimination based on their “gender identity or expression.” This elevation of subjective identity over biological determinants of sex would allow men, posing as women, to invade women’s spaces and activities and undo years of progress in the name of women’s equality.

The ERA is unnecessary. The Minnesota Supreme Court has interpreted the Minnesota Constitution to require equal protection of the laws. In addition to longstanding federal and state constitutional protections barring discrimination, the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) bans, among other things, sex discrimination as well as discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but in a limited manner, with protections for common-sense distinctions and exemptions for religious entities. The balance of interests in the MHRA ensures that the law is treated as a shield against unjust discrimination rather than a sword against those who hold views consistent with biological reality.

So why is there a strong push to pass the ERA?

Historically, ERA proponents wanted to end discrimination against women. There were also problems with prior versions of the ERA, including the proposed federal ERA, because it could protect abortion. But in an ironic twist, the new ERA proposed in Minnesota furthers discrimination against women, endangers their safety, and threatens those who object because its purpose is to impose gender ideology, where each person gets to define their identity.

Special interest groups hope the ERA gives them greater power in the courts. Right now, these groups are relying on judges who are willing to impose their own novel interpretations, such as the recent case in which Attorney General Keith Ellison settled with a male prisoner by transferring him to a female prison, paying for his “sex change” operation after one was denied to him, and awarding him $500,000 in damages. By passing the ERA, the case outcomes desired by radical activists will become the norm, rather than just a novel interpretation of the law by judges, thus erasing years of work and undermining women’s involvement in society.

Other potential outcomes of the ERA include further entrenchment of abortion rights; increased litigation against faith communities and schools that reject gender ideology; erosion of conscience rights for medical professionals; more taxpayer-funded “gender-affirming care;” a decline of women’s sports; attacks on free speech related to mandated pronoun usage; the shutdown of faith-based shelters for women; and major curricula changes in schools. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, all forms of unjust discrimination against persons should be avoided. But biology is not bigotry, and imposing a false vision of the human person through the ERA will harm persons, the common good, and those who object on principle and believe that respecting our bodies as God in his providence created them promotes human flourishing.

Visit  to reach out to state legislators and urge them to oppose the erosion of women’s rights and religious protections.

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