March 28, 1945
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
It becomes my privilege as Senior Councillor on the New York State Council of the National Woman's Party to submit to you for inclusion in the testimony from New York State Resolution No. 53 presenteed by Orlo M. Brees to the New York State Legislature and passed unanimously by them in both the Assembly and the Senate Saturday, March the twenty-fourth:
BY Mr BREES -- WHEREAS, The women of America have shared equally with men in the hardships and sacrifices insident to the building of this nation, and
WHEREAS, They have shared equally in the pain and distress which have been involved in the maintenance of the American republic and the ideals of free government against the aggression of tyrants and have participated, and are today participants, in the battles precipitated by the enemies of freedom, and
WHEREAS, This nation was "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal", and such declaration has no actual or implied limitations on equality before the law by reason of sex, and
WHEREAS, The rights of women before the law are much abridged in many states, and this legal discrimination on the basis of sex constitues an intolerable burden upon thousands of women who are solely dependent upon their own efforts for their livelihood, and is a source of irritation and annoyance to many thousands of others who recognize in this discrimination a flat contradiction of the American principle of equality, wholly out of accord with the status of American women which they have reached by their achievements in other fields of human endeavor,; now therefore be it
RESOLVED (if the Senate concur), That the Congress of the United States be, and it hereby is, respectfully memorialized to adopt and submit to the several states the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which amendment is now pending before Congress, and be it further
RESOLVED (if the Senate concur), That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Secretary of the United States Senate, the Clerk of the House of Representatives and to each member of Congress elected from the State of New York.
Many inferences could be made from the Brees Resolution, but let me take your time to make only one: It is apparent that Mr. Brees and the New York State Legislature believe in the Four Fredoms and therefore in freedom of discussion. So do you, I am confident, believe in our American democratic procedure, yet for twenty years the Equal Rights Amendment has been kept in Committee thereby preventing on the floor of the House of Representatives free discussion concerning the equality of women.
In closing may I add that we are confronting the most acute crisis in human history, a crisis to be met by human beings, men and women, on an equal basis. Anything less than absolute equality in which "men and women become co-workers in all that concerns the destiny of the human race" is an anachronism today ..... This anachronism and many other facts are made clear in the clauses of the Brees Resolution.
Mary E. Woolley