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ays u. 1 013 ERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South Nov. 15, 1974 500 Austin When the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by Texas two years ago, it raised about as much interest as a sewer bond referendum. Voters approved the ERA in March of 1972 and in November they put an Equal Legal Rights Amendment in the Texas Constitution by a generous four to one margin. Now a belated, often hysterical opposition to the amendments is surfacing in Texas. Right-wing opponents are saying that the ERA will require men and women to share college dormitories, military barracks, and prison cells; that public toilets and showers will have to be unisex; that women will be drafted \(despite the will no longer be a crime; and that wives will have to support their husbands and children. THERE IS a fundamentalist theme to many of the letters being sent to Texas legislators. Many women say they fear that the ERA will destroy the divine family structure. “The home life in the United States is very important,” one woman wrote, “and if woman’s role is changed the U.S. may be sorry for it.” Another asked her representative, “Please help keep our home, family, marriage, and children the way they should be.” A Tuesday morning ‘church group got together to insist, “There are still a lot of us women who enjoy being a lady.” Many of the opponents of the ERA feel they are struggling against great odds to prevent an impending moral collapse in America. Others feel personally threatened by women’s liberation. As one female aide to a Texas legislator put it, “Some of these women are afraid they can’t hold onto their husbands if they, come in contact with a lot of other women.” But, believe it or not, the real hot tomato, the great sizzling issue of the anti-ERA movement is unisex restrooms. It’s a strange complaint for defenders of the home and motherhood to light upon, considering the fact that most families get by just fine without separate facilities for the sexes. Fact is, neither the Texas amendment nor the federal amendment has anything to do with unisex toilets. They’re dealing with mythology and states of mind. And, unfortunately, as one legislator who insists on anonymity explained, “There’s just enough sex in this to titillate the fundamentalists.” The Texas Equal Rights Amendment provides that “equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin.” The federal Equal Rights Amendment, which has been passed by 33 states, says that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” If the ERA is approved by 38 states within the next five years, it will become the 27th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Texas amendment has been in effect for two years. To date, none of the restrooms in state office buildings have gone unisex. Nor have men and women been mixing it up in the state prison system. The Observer has failed to note any great moral decline in the last two years. The John Birch Society is making a stand against the ERA in a number of