Your Letters: On account of gender
"equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender"
Sounds like common sense, doesn't it?
In a country whose values are supposed to be equal opportunity for all, one would think an amendment to the State constitution to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender would be uncontroversial. But when a measure to place the Equal Rights Amendment on the 2020 ballot was brought to a vote in St. Paul, 55 representatives voted against it, including the representative of this district, John Poston.
So why did Poston vote against the amendment? I called his office to ask and to his credit Poston himself called me back. He told me he voted against the amendment because it prohibited discrimination on the basis of "gender." Poston, it seems, would have voted "yes" had it specified protections based on if a person is "a man or woman," but not "gender." He went on to say that the reason for that is because "someone can identify as a man one day and a woman the next" and that "there can be a hundred different genders."
If this sounds like it could be a back door slam against genderqueer and trans people, that's because it is.
Trying to enshrine specific biological ideas of gender into the constitution would be foolhardy because the scientific and social definition of gender is constantly changing. The law should be revised to create more equality, and legally protecting only two genders would do the opposite.