Nil I NIMIMPI, The ladies… states, including Texas. The amendment has gotten support from President and Mrs. Gerald Ford, the Teamsters, the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW, the National Organization for Women, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the American Association of University Women, the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Business and Professional Women of Texas, and a galaxy of other sober-sided organizations. IN TEXAS, the primary opposition to the ERA comes from a Fort Worth group called Women Who Want to Be Women. They want the Texas Legislature to repeal the votes on both the state and national equal rights amendments, a remedy for which no procedure exists. WWWW does not appear to be a very large group, but it is reaching a considerable number of women, primarily through presentations to church and PTA groups. The WWWW has not registered with the secretary of state as a lobbying group, but its literature, particularly the first infamous “pink sheet,” is popping up all over the place. The sheet is an efficiently dishonest piece of propaganda. “LADIES! HAVE YOU HEARD?” asks the pink WWWW brochure. “Do you know who is planning your future for you? Are you sure they are planning what you really want? . . . Are you sure you want to be `liberated’? God created you and gave you a beautiful and exalted place to fill. No women in history have ever enjoyed such privileges, luxuries, and freedom as American women. Yet, a tiny minority of dissatisfied, highly vocal, militant women insist that you are being exploited as a `domestic drudge’ and ‘a pretty toy.’ And they are determined to ‘liberate’ you whether you want it or not! What is `liberation’? Ask women in Cuba. Castro `liberated’ Cuba! Remember?” This is the tenor of Women Who Want to Be Women. The group seems to have strong ties to the Church of Christ and some of its pronouncements echo the John Birch Society. One of the prime WWWW movers is Mrs. Becky Tilotta, a Fort Worth resident who was dean of women at Oklahoma Christian College during the late Sixties. Mrs. Tilotta politely declined a telephone interview with the Observer. “I don’t believe I have anything to say. We’d rather not have our opinions publicized,” she explained. The WWWW organizer was not so reticent with Katie Brown, a Fort Worth Star Telegram reporter. Tilotta told Brown that her job at the college opened her eyes to the fact that some feminists are out to destroy the home and Christian morality. “The NOW organization [the National Organization for Women] , you know who they are,” Tilotta lectured the Startlegram reporter. “They’re pushing to tear down the home. Lesbianism and homosexuality are their goals for the next year, to get that legalized so that these gay people can adopt children. . . . It’s the most damnable thing that has ever hit our nation, some of the things they stand for. I think we’ve got to speak out against this evil. God has destroyed whole nations because of this.” According to Tilotta, WWWW has chapters in Amarillo, Beaumont, Fort Worth, Texarkana, El Paso, San Antonio, Austin, and Corpus Christi. And, she told the Star Telegram, the Parker Chiropractic Research Foundation in Fort Worth is helping the cause. State Rep. Larry Vick rally in Waco in late October. Vick is interested in sponsoring a bill to get the ERA repealed. copy of “LADIES! HAVE YOU HEARD?” to the attorney general’s office for an informal analysis of the allegations made in the pamphlet. Asst. Atty. Gen. David M. Kendall answered 15 points brought up by. the WWWW. Allegation #1 “If you are married, you may choose to work outside your home. But you may choose to stay at home, to rear your children, to be supported by your husband. The ERA will abolish this right.” “False,” answered Kendall. “No one has an absolute right now to stay at home to be supported by her husband. Both the husband and the wife have an obligation to support their children, and, for instance, where a husband is unable to work, even under our present laws, a wife may be required as a practical matter to support her family.” “Divorced women,” said the WWWW, “will lose the customary right of child custody, child support, and/or alimony, and can be forced to pay child support and alimony, if her husband wins custody of the children.” Kendall wrote, “In Texas, as I believe most other states, the question of who has child custody is determined by what would be best for the child. The courts recognize that most often children are better off being raised by their mothers, but this is not always true and I don’t believe anything in the ERA will change that rule. Likewise, both parents now, as well as under the ERA, owe an obligation to support their children. I assume that even today if the husband and father gets custody, the mother can be ordered to pay child support and I doubt that the ERA will change the law at all. Texas has no alimony and the ERA will not affect any such right in this state.” WWWW is especially alarmed about day care centers, a concern shared with members of the John Birch Society. The Star Telegram interviewed four Women Who Want to Be Women. One of them refused to be photographed and insisted upon being called Miss X. The reticent Miss X is convinced that federally financed day care centers will lead to mind control. “It would be just like it is in the communist countries,” she said. “Every nation where the children are cared for by government agencies, they’re taught what the government wants them to be taught. It has happened in every nation and why do we think our nation is going to be any different.” “. Miss X said. “Suppose there were ten people lined up and every one of them put their hand on a hot stove and it burned those ten people. You wouldn’t want to come along, or at least we wouldn’t, and say, ‘Look, we watched it happen ten times, but it’s not going to happen to us.’ ” Kendall answered a similar allegation in the WWWW brochure. “The purpose of day care centers, which are ‘being pushed by some women’s organizations, is to make it possible for women to work, but I know of no law which would force a woman to place their [sic] children in a day care center if they desire not to.” The ERA would permit homosexuals to marry and adopt children, according to the WWWW. The attorney . general, Kendall said, holds that persons of the same sex may not marry under Texas law. “The aim of NOW and other pro-ERA groups is to totally `desexigrate’ everything,” wrote the WWWW. “Professor Paul Freund, Harvard Law School, testified that ERA ‘would require that there be no segregation of the sexes in prison, reform schools, public restrooms, and other public facilities.’ This includes all public schools, college dormitories, and hospital rooms.” “I think this assertion is absolutely false,” responded Kendall. “The amendment is designed to give equality of rights. I see nothing in it that would deny the right to provide a separate facility such as those to which you refer so long as the rights of one sex were not denied because of their sex.” According to the WWWW, the ERA would abolish protective laws against sex crimes. “It is entirely possible that ERA will require some revision of laws dealing with seduction, statutory rape, etc.,” Kendall answered, “but I seriously doubt that they will be abolished. I think some of this has already been accomplished as, for instance, by the fact that under our new November 15, 1974 3
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