State Representative candidate from Marceline, Mitch Wrenn was recently endorsed by a national organization called Equal Means Equal.
Wrenn, with the support of Equal Means Equal hopes to make Missouri the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
Mitch Wrenn is running for Missouri State Representative of District 6. This is Wrenn’s first time running for political office and hopes to make Missouri more progressive.
Wrenn says he wants to do what is right for Missouri.
“We’re not in the 18th, or 19th century anymore, we have to get with the times,” Wrenn said. “This is a slow process, but it’s long overdue.”
Earlier this summer, Wrenn signed an equality pledge with Equal Means Equal. The equality pledge is set up for candidates and elected officials to state they will make efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
The ERA was first introduced to Congress in 1972. In the time since it was introduced, it was a bipartisan issue, but eventually lost steam in the early 1980s, failing to be ratified by two-thirds of states. The ERA would be the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution and would make all people equal regardless of race, gender, or status. The amendment would make state laws, which target specifically men, or women unconstitutional.
According to the Equal Means Equal website, the organization wants everyone to see the pledge.
“We must ensure that the equality pledge is officially signed, or rejected by each candidate in every unratified state.”
As it stands, there are 13 states, which have not ratified the ERA. The states include: Missouri, Arkansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Utah, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Five Missouri candidates have signed on to the pledge. Co-director of Equal Means Equal Kamala Lopez says she’s raising awareness.
“We’re elevating public knowledge of equal rights,” Lopez said. “No group would lose any rights, if another group received elevated rights.”
Wrenn is running on a platform with seven points. One of Wrenn’s points is domestic violence and mental health. Wrenn wants to curb violence against women and support single moms.
Wrenn believes the ERA will help achieve this goal.
“I think this is an issue both sides can agree on,” Wrenn said. “I think there are several Republicans who are onboard for the ERA.”
The District 6 incumbent is Tim Remole. Remole lives in Excello, Mo. and has been in office since 2012. Remole is a Republican and believes equality for U.S. citizens has been established.
“The Constitution already lays out equality, we already have everything we need in the Constitution,” Remole said.
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins with, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The 14th amendment to the constitution states “all persons born, or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make, or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges, or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
Remole wants to keep the Constitution as is.
“I want to uphold our current constitution, we already have the language for equal rights,” Remole said.
Remole supports a D.C. based organization called the Heritage Foundation. Since 1973, the foundation has been researching issues and offering comments on policies.
Policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation John York says he keeps the original intent of the Constitution in mind.
“When we write about current issues, we try to keep the founders in mind,” York said. “The Constitution certainly does not make provisions on race, gender, or equality.” “I agree with the founders that they wrote a document, which would last the test of time.”
Another Heritage Foundation analyst believes the ERA will not fix the U.S. In an article printed in 1978, Thomas Ascik wrote about his thoughts on the ERA. Ascik believes the ERA has taken too long to be ratified and that it could cause more harm than good.
“The political turmoil across the country will assuredly increase,” Ascik wrote. “State defiance of the extension could produce court cases all across the country. A jealous concern for states rights might provoke still more rescissions.”
Dr. Randy Hagerty chair of the political science department at Truman State University believes if the ERA is ratified it will shore up rights.
“The ERA would certainly lift the legal standard for judging [sex discrimination] cases to “strict scrutiny” meaning that the government would have to show a “compelling reason” for justifying laws treating the sexes differently,” Hagerty said. “[The ERA] almost certainly would increase the difficulty of treating women differently under the law and in these cases.”
Equal Means Equal is hopeful the ERA will be ratified after a 38th state approves the amendment. The Madison Amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1789. The amendment was finally ratified May 5, 1992, 202 years after being first submitted becoming the 27th amendment to the Constitution. Lopez argues the ERA could still be ratified even though the amendment exceeded the time limit given by Congress, based on the Madison Amendment.