Friday, Sep. 16, 2011

The Anti–Ladies Man

Iowa embraced the women's-rights movement a little late — shooting down an equal-rights amendment that would ban sex discrimination in 1980 and waiting until 1992 to reintroduce the issue. However, TV evangelist Pat Robertson made it clear that he would do anything in his power to keep it off the table for good, joining forces with the organization Stop ERA to block the amendment.

In a now infamous letter, sent as a plea to supporters to donate money to the Stop ERA organization, Robertson claimed that the feminist movement was "a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Although the letter was dismissed as "ridiculous" by the head of the group Iowa Equal Rights Amendment 1992, Robertson's vituperative comments, along with a media blitz by anti-ERA activists, successfully prevented equal rights from being incorporated into the state's constitution by a 51% margin. (It would ultimately pass in 1998.)