I support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) because we need a clear and unassailable statement in our U.S. Constitution that women are also persons entitled to equal protection of the law. As lawyers, we believe words are important. Having the words of the ERA enshrined in the country’s foundational legal document will send an important message that all persons are entitled to be treated equally regardless of their sex or gender.
While we have statutes that protect against some gender-based discrimination, there are significant gaps in coverage. In addition, statutes are much easier to change or repeal than a constitutional amendment. Likewise, some state constitutions contain statements of equality regardless of sex or gender, but many state constitutions do not, so coverage is not uniform throughout the country.
Discrimination against persons based on sex continues to exist in many areas of the law, such as employment law, family law and immigration law. Therefore, it is essential that we have a constitutional amendment to clarify that all persons are entitled to equal rights.
-Cindy G. Buys
Cindy Galway Buys is the Acting Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, a Professor of Law, and the Director of International Law Programs at the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law, where she teaches International Law-related courses as well as Immigration Law and Constitutional Law. She also is a co-founder and director of the Law School’s Women in Leadership Program.
Dean Buys holds leadership positions in several organizations including the Illinois State Bar Association and the American Society of International Law. She is a member of the Illinois Advisory Commission to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She also serves as an arbitrator under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Prior to joining the SIU School of Law faculty in 2001, Dean Buys spent ten years in public and private practice in Washington, D.C. She has published a wide range of book chapters and articles on immigration and refugee law, U.S. foreign relations law, U.S. constitutional law, treaty law, international arbitration, economic sanctions, and other topics.