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Standing Up For Equality Can Have Its Downsides

Illustration for article titled Standing Up For Equality Can Have Its Downsides

Matt Welch at Reason is all up in arms over an ages-old report unearthed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Barack Obama supports equitable Selective Service requirements. Selective Service is — if you're not aware — a pre-draft procedure for which all men 18-25 have to register in case we decide to institute a draft. Women can't register for it since the military prevents us from serving in combat — although more than 100 female soldiers have died in Iraq. But what bringing up equity in the Selective Service is supposed to remind people of is not that we're involved in a war in which thousands of Americans are dying or anything, but that equal rights for women — and the great conservative boogeyman of the eighties, the Equal Rights Amendment — can be, like, bad. And of course us ladies don't want our equal rights if it means we gotta put the seat down in a public restroom and whatever.What Obama said, back at the YouTube debate last year, was:

And I think that if women are registered for service — not necessarily in combat roles, and I don't agree with the draft — I think it will help to send a message to my two daughters that they've got obligations to this great country as well as boys do.


Conservative women's groups argued a year ago, as during the ultimately unsuccessful fight to enshrine women's equality in our constitution, that women don't really want equality if it's uncomfortable for us sometimes. The president of Concerned Women for America, Wendy Wright, said:

On the surface, Americans want equality, but when you get into the nitty-gritty of laws that would not allow any distinction to be made between men and women, that's when Americans say, 'That's going too far. Men do have a natural sense of wanting to protect. Women have a natural sense of wanting to nurture. These are both beautiful characteristics — highly valued characteristics. And it's demeaning to deny that women have certain characteristics that are different than men.


Gag. Look, would I want to register for the Selective Service? No, not at all. Of course, I was also kind of freaked out when I accompanied by high school boyfriend to do it, too. It's a likely-unnecessary system for a draft everyone swears won't happen anyway, not that either candidate is offering to get rid of it. But do you know what I like less than the thought of registering to register for a draft? Not having equality. So, you know what? I'm happy to pee in the damn unisex restroom, I'm happy to register for the Selective Service and I'm happy to not get special treatment for being a woman if it means that you have to pay me as much as a man. Deal? Yeah, I didn't think so. Girls Gone Wild Killed [Reason] Candidates Differ On Female Draft [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] Democratic Candidates Back Selective Service For Women [Baptist Messenger of Omaha] The Equal Rights Amendment And The Bible [Brethren Revival Fellowship] Phyllis Schlafly, Then and Now [The Slog]

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The equal opportunity draft works well enough in Israel, doesn't it? Both men and woman have to register for service, though you're well within your rights to refuse and work as a civil servant for a year or two.

Equality is an all or nothing, so, while I don't necessarily want to join the military, I would if it meant that we would finally have the rights that men do.