There’s an article in the Boston Globe that talks about a proposal going on in the neighboring state of New Hampshire in which their State Constitution would be re-written to make it more gender equal. As pointed out in the article New Hampshire penned the nation’s first constitution in 1776, binding until the end of the Revolutionary War. With the war won, the state in 1783 ratified a new one that opens with the words, “All men are born equally free and independent.’’
NH State Senator Kathy Sgambati, a Democrat and chief sponsor of the legislation, which has 18 cosponsors says “The constitution should reflect our government, and that includes women. In a state that now has the nation’s first majority female legislative body, backers say that changing the language is imperative. Why?
Let me be clear I have SIX sisters, a wife and 2 daughters and believe they should receive all the same rights, salary and benefit given to any man for anything they do. But do we need to rewrite history to make women feel equal?
Back in the time the NH Constitution was written, men where in charge and women did not have rights. That is as much a part of our history as is Civil Rights and a Women’s Right to Vote. Why should we have to change the language of the time and forget our history?
What next are we going to rewrite? The US Constitution, The Bible and other great forms of Literature? Do we make everything politically correct? Why can’t we respect and learn from our past without having to rewrite it to make people feel better about themselves today?
Are women going to get better pay or more rights because a constitution so rich in the history and in the development of our country gets re-written? This was tried before in 1994 when Jean Shaheen was Governor but failed when put to a vote of the citizens of New Hampshire. Common sense won out. Now with so many former MA. residents living in exile in NH could it pass?
A number of states have amended their constitutions to include gender-neutral language, including Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, California, Florida, Hawaii, and New York. Other states, such as Nebraska, have tried to amend their constitutions and failed. Massachusetts has kept its original language, as has the US Constitution. When state Representative Cory Atkins of Concord introduced a bill in 2008 mandating that gender-neutral language be used instead, she was lambasted as politically correct, with critics arguing that the word he is accepted as a generic term in everything from laws to the Bible. The measure failed and so to should it fail in New Hampshire in 2010.
Why can’t people embrace and learn from the past without having to rewrite it?