Arizona Lawmakers Avoid Equal Rights For Women Once More
For the second year in a row, Democrats failed to convince Republican counterparts that Arizona women should have equal rights guaranteed.
Congress introduced the equality for men and women amendment back in 1972, but fell three states short of the necessary 38 states needed to pass it.
That left the responsibility for ratifying to each of the state's local legislators. Arizona remains among the last 14 states to do so.
Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth argued on Tuesday's House floor that passing such an amendment would be redundant.
"If you have people that are paying less money based on gender, they are already breaking the law," he told fellow lawmakers. "That's an enforcement issue, passing another law is not going to change enforcement."
The debate fell down party lines, with Tucson Democrat Pamela Powers Hannley invoking conservative former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's own words.
"The constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex," Hannley reminded the room, "the only issue is whether or not it prohibits it," and added, "It does not!"
Hannley introduced the idea to ratify the bill on national Equal Pay day, when a nationwide report found Arizona women still make 82 cents on the dollar compared to men.
Rather than ratify the amendment, Republicans voted to adjourn early for the day.