THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
Hermione Dalkowitz Tobolowsky
“Mother of the Texas Equal Rights Amendment.”
From the VFA Salute to Pioneer Feminists, Sewall Belmont House, Washington DC, May 1994
Thank you Veteran Feminists of America for honoring me in this manner. I’m always embarrassed to be honored for doing just exactly what I wanted to do. To me any inequality is a challenge. And certainly in Texas we have that challenge.
In 1957, the first year I appeared before a Texas legislative committee there was an editorial in the Dallas Morning News saying that Texas was fine for men and dogs but hell on horses and women. Texas was known as the state with the most laws that were discriminatory between men and women. Consequently when we passed our Equal Rights Amendment we called it the Equal “Legal” Rights Amendment because we were doing nothing but changing laws.
And it read – equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, creed or color. It was passed in 1971 by the Texas Legislature with many of the opponents voting for it because they said they were tired of seeing their ranks decimated by the women who were upset with their votes against it.
And they were certain that the people of Texas would have sense enough not to vote it into the Constitution. In Texas before any amendment can go into the Constitution it has to be voted on and adopted by the people of Texas. Well in 1972 that amendment was presented to the people of Texas and much to the surprise of the opponents it received a 4 to 1 majority. That was the largest majority any amendment had ever received in the state of Texas. And to me seeing it passed was a great satisfaction but I’m still dissatisfied because we don’t have the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States Constitution. And I may be a veteran but I’m not retiring until that amendment goes into our National Constitution.