First Presidency Issues Statement Opposing Equal Rights Amendment

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“First Presidency Issues Statement Opposing Equal Rights Amendment,” Ensign, Dec. 1976, 79

First Presidency Issues Statement Opposing Equal Rights Amendment

“From its beginnings, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has affirmed the exalted role of woman in our society.

“In 1842, when women’s organizations were little known, the Prophet Joseph Smith established the women’s organization of the Church, the Relief Society, as a companion body of the priesthood. The Relief Society continues to function today as a vibrant, worldwide organization aimed at strengthening motherhood and broadening women’s learning and involvement in religious, compassionate, cultural, educational, and community pursuits.

“In Utah, where our Church is headquartered, women received the right to vote in 1870, fifty years before the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution granted the right nationally.

“There have been injustices to women before the law and in society generally. These we deplore.

“There are additional rights to which women are entitled.

“However, we firmly believe that the Equal Rights Amendment is not the answer.

“While the motives of its supporters may be praiseworthy, ERA as a blanket attempt to help women could indeed bring them far more restraints and repressions. We fear it will even stifle many God-given feminine instincts.

“It would strike at the family, humankind’s basic institution. ERA would bring ambiguity and possibly invite extensive litigation.

“Passage of ERA, some legal authorities contend, could nullify many accumulated benefits to women in present statutes.

“We recognize men and women as equally important before the Lord, but with differences biologically, emotionally, and in other ways.

“ERA, we believe, does not recognize these differences. There are better means for giving women, and men, the rights they deserve.”