Liberty Defense League Timothy Baldwin Romans 13

You Are Here: Articles Wednesday, August 20, 2014

by Tim Baldwin

In 2014, Montana may be able to vote on citizen initiative (CI) 114 if enough signatures are gathered to put on the ballot. CI 114 would amend Montana’s Constitution requiring that the State legislature be 50% men and 50% women. Democracy and Republics are about real choice, not forced choice. I oppose CI 114.

There is nothing democratic about CI 114. It puts sex above qualifications. It degrades women, implying that without this law, they cannot compete against men for public office. It takes away the voters’ choice as to which candidates they believe will best represent them in Helena. It has no relationship to the candidates’ merits. It assumes women somehow think differently than men on political issues. It assumes Montanans are prejudiced against women and think them unworthy of holding office. Each one of these reasons, and more, demonstrate how absurd CI 114 is.

In addition to CI 114’s political and philosophical flaws, the practical flaws are as obvious.

What if there are not enough women to run for legislative office? Will they force women to become candidates so the State can enforce the 50/50 requirement? Or will districts not be represented for lack of women or men candidates? What if when the election results are all tallied, we discover that 60% of the legislators are men and 40% are women. Is the Governor going to remove 10% of the men from office and appoint women? And what if during the election campaigns, it becomes obvious that there are not enough women candidates, will the State prevent men from filing or running for election? I could go on and on here, but the point is clear: requiring the legislature to be 50% men and 50% women is ludicrous.

And why stop at the legislators? Why not require that the Judiciary and Executive offices be proportionally divided based on class? Surely if it is important to have a 50/50 proportion of men and women in the body making laws, it has equal bearing on the other 2 political branches of government who enforce and interpret them, right? And what about the board of land commissioners, public service commissioners, board of regents of higher education, etc.? Isn’t it as important to make sure we have an equal number of women and men there?

Most predictably, some will accuse me of being sexist or whatever. But let’s see who is really discriminating here.

Why does CI 114 stop at requiring men and women to equally hold legislative office? There are other classes of people other than gender. There are classes based on race, religion, occupation, wealth, education, sexuality (i.e. heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals), etc. Why doesn’t CI 114 require percentages of legislators to comprise these other classes? It doesn’t, so obviously it undermines other classes by addressing only the gender class, thus discriminating against minorities especially.

CI 114 is wrong. Montanans deserve the right to vote for candidates they feel are right for the job, whether they are male, female, white, black, old, young, farmer, doctor, veteran, civilian, educated, uneducated or whatever. It is insulting to think that Montanans should be forced to vote for a male or female (or any other class of person) based on an imposed numerical formula.


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