the thinker

Equal Rights Amendment

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“I think you'll find our women are very happy now. We have a dissident now and again, somebody who speaks out very sharply, very strongly. But that's very unusual. Statistically it's such a very small item that you'd hardly reckon with it.... They're outspoken. They speak up. They feel strongly about it. That's their prerogative. They talk about it a good deal, and we've heard what they've had to say. We've heard it again and again. We feel they're not right. We let them go forward with what they're doing. If they speak out against the church in a strong, vigorous way, then possibly some action will be taken.”

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, interview with Richard Ostling, in Mormon America, by Richard and Joan Ostling, p. 364

“Word was received from somewhere that a recent poll showed ERA slightly ahead, and this was used to mobilize the Mormon Church in the Las Vegas area (where over 50 percent of Nevada's population resides) for one last major effort. A meeting was called on Saturday night of Mormon leaders from throughout the area, and around 2,000 attended. In an emotion-packed meeting, they were strongly encouraged to do everything possible to make sure that ERA was defeated. These people went back to their individual wards (churches), and mobilize them to call others, to distribute literature, to get people to the polls, and to do “poll-watching,” using church lists in some cases. Claims and charges having been made since then that up to 9,000 Mormons were involved in calling and literature distribution over the next two days, and that virtually every Mormon in Las Vegas was called and urged to vote, and that literature was “dropped” on virtually every doorstep in Las Vegas the day before the election... This writer has been told by Mormons and non-Mormons alike that upwards of 95 percent of all eligible Mormons voted in the election, which, if true, represents an astounding voter turnout which would have put even Mayor Daley and his Chicago Machine to shame.”

- James T. Richardson, sociologist, “The ‘Old Right' in Action: Mormon and Catholic Involvement in an Equal Rights Amendment Referendum,” in David G. Bromley and Anson Shupe, eds., New Christian Politics, 1984, pp. 213-233.

“In just two days, California Mormons alone contributed close to $13,000 [to the anti-ERA campaign]. A Florida Church leader, explaining how efficiently the [telephone tree] system works, said: ‘The structure exists where I can make 16 calls, and by the end of the day, 2,700 people will know something.”

- Linda Cicero, “Mormon Money Worked Against Florida's ERA,” Miami Herald, April 20, 1980, p. A1

“I don't even know who he was [anti-ERA candidate]. I don't even know what he was running for. I donated because our church wanted us to support this man.”

- Linda Cicero, “Mormon Money Worked Against Florida's ERA,” Miami Herald, April 20, 1980, p. 33-A

“The publicity also served to draw more Latter-day Saint women into political activity. When a state legislature's agenda included possible ratification of the ERA (or rescission of an earlier ratification), Relief Society women became involved.”

- Derr, Cannon, and Beecher, Women of the Covenant, p. 368