New Effort for an Equal Rights Amendment on the State and Federal Constitution

Although MN CAFE (Constitutional Amendment for Equality) Coalition was not successful in 2011–the effort to get an equal rights amendment on the state and federal constitution is not over!

Please check our new website at and see what is happening and how you can be a part of it.

We did go have ERA Day at the Capitol today (March 5, 2015).  There was a Press Conference and a Senate Judiciary Hearing to introduce the bill SF No 113.  Please check the new website for more information.  You can also subscribe to the blog by clicking on the RSS Feed button on the front page, right sidebar.


TODAY at the Minnesota State Capitol!

This is it!  Our big day at the capitol (Wed., April 14).
It would be great if you could come!


Press Conference is at 1:00 p.m. in Room 125.
Speaking will be bill author and Senate Leadership Senator Cohen, Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Moua, House author  Rep. Knuth, , Jill Gaulding from the U of M Law School, Chuck Derry from the Gender Violence Institute.  House Leadership Rep. Kelliher has also been invited.

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing is at 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in Room 15.
Here is a brief line up of who will speak and what will be covered at the hearing…

  1. Introduction of bill
    Senator Dick Cohen
  2. Overview of Amendment and Gender Issues
    Lisa Tratton & Jill Gaulding, Workers’ Rights Clinic, U of M Law School
    Amy Brenengen, Office on the Economic Status of Women

  3. Issue Specific areas:
    • Pay Equity
      Patty Tanji – Pay Equity Coalition
      Deb Fitzpatrick, Humphrey Institute, Women in Policy research

    • Gender Violence
      Chuck Derry, Gender Violence Institute
      Graham Barnes, Battered Women’s Justice Project

    • Gender in the Courts
      Marna Anderson, WATCH Minnesota
      Aviva Breen, Gender Fairness in the Courts Task Force

  4. Concluding Remarks & Questions
    Senator Dick Cohen

If you can’t make it we will post an update as soon as we can.

In Equality,
The mnCAFEcoaltion Team

EQUALITY in the Governor’s race

….and no, that doesn’t mean that we want more than two of the thirty-odd candidates to be women (though we do!).

You may have noticed that our list of MN CAFE Coalition partners includes quite a number of campaigns for Minnesota Governor.  We’re thrilled that they’re here, but we want more.

We want the support of candidates from every political party. The Green Party of Minnesota is itself a Coalition partner, but the campaigns in our Coalition are solely those of DFLers.   Equality is a non-partisan issue!   The Republican Party added support for a federal ERA to its platform in 1944, nearly thirty years before the Democrats.  Below is a 1975 photo of First Lady Betty Ford, an ardent supporter.

Equality: it makes everyone smile!

We want passage of an Equal Rights Amendment to be a campaign issue. When we ask individuals, activist organizations, unions, faith groups, and campaigns to join our coalition, we expect our partners to walk the walk AND talk the talk.  Many of our supporters brought MN CAFE resolutions to their caucuses on February 2.  Others wear our T-shirts and buttons in public, where they can answer the age-old question “but haven’t we passed the ERA already?!”  Still others are making calls to their legislators to ask that they support an ERA bill during the 2010 Minnesota Legislative session.  Now is the time to contact your top candidates to ask their position on constitutional equality–do they support an ERA?  If so, will they help us lobby the legislature to give the bill a committee hearing?  If not, WHY NOT?

Politics in Minnesota has a handy chart to the remaining candidates of all parties.  Use it and take action NOW, while these 27 folks are eager to hear from you!

No candidate, whatever their gender or party affiliation, should take equality (or the equality vote!) for granted!

“Finish the fight” with the League of Women Voters Minnesota!

Here at MN CAFE, we love all of our wonderful Coalition members.  But forgive us if we seem unusually ecstatic about joining forces with the League of Women Voters-Minnesota.  The national League was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt, the second leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (Susan B. Anthony was the first).  Wrote Catt in 1919:

Every suffragist will hope for a memorial dedicated to the memory of our brave departed leaders, to the sacrifices they made for our cause, to the scores of victories won…I venture to propose one whose benefits will bless our entire nation and bring happiness to the humblest of our citizens–the most natural, the most appropriate, and the most patriotic memorial that could be suggested–a League of Women Voters to “finish the fight” and to aid in the reconstruction of the nation.

Catt’s fellow suffragist Alice Paul was the author of the federal Equal Rights Amendment, first proposed in Congress in 1923.  We of the MN CAFE Coalition are acutely aware that our work is just one part of an historic campaign to win legal equality for all of America’s citizens.

Together we will FINISH THE FIGHT!

Announcing the Northern Minnesota Equality Tour!

Yep, we’re hitting the road.  You know we’re serious about equality when we take to the icy highways in the middle of winter.  But Minnesota’s Equal Rights Amendment won’t pass itself.  Successful passage will require a YES vote from every last Minnesota voter, from Marshall to Minneapolis, from Roseau to Richfield, from Winona to Worthington.

January’s tour will take us from Duluth to the Iron Range to the frozen lake country.  We’re finalizing locations and times, but our general itinerary looks like this:

Thursday, January 28

Friday January 29
Grand Rapids

Saturday, January 30
Park Rapids
Detroit Lakes (rumor has it that there will be a party at Zorbaz that no one will want to miss er, mizz)

Sunday, January 31
Fergus Falls

If you’re a MN CAFE fan living in or around any of these areas, we want to talk to you!  Contact us at to find out how you can be a part of our movement for EQUALITY!

And check this space for updated locations and times for the tour!

Making change!

The MN CAFE Coalition congratulates Executive Director Kathleen Murphy on her 2009 Minnesota Women’s Press Changemaker Award!  Below is the article from the MWP’s December Issue.

Changemaker2009: Kathleen Murphy

Got women’s equality?

by Tami Mohamed Brown

The presumed answer might be an incredulous: Of course! Followed up by the tentative question: But wasn’t the campaign for women’s rights fought a long time ago?

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was written and introduced into Congress in 1923. It was reintroduced each session until 1972 when it finally passed the Senate and the House, and was then sent to the states for ratification. A seven-year time limit was extended by U.S. Congress to June of 1982, but was left short with 35 of the necessary 38 states ratifying the amendment. It is not yet included in the U.S. Constitution.

Kathleen Murphy encountered this piece of women’s history while working on a college paper, realizing that she had mistakenly taken equality for granted but that the work was not done.

A longtime professional in the public-policy arena, Murphy works on the ERA campaign without fanfare, or even without pay in most instances; she’s in it for the bigger picture.

“Although Minnesota did its part nationally by ratifying the federal effort, our own state has never been able to get an amendment on the ballot,” Murphy explained.

For nearly 10 years, Murphy has been working on a Minnesota Equal Rights Amendment campaign, to get an amendment to our state constitution put on the ballot.

When the Federal Equal Rights Amendment was reintroduced in the U.S. House in July 2009, Murphy was one of the uniting forces behind the formation of the Minnesota Constitutional Amendment for Equality (MN C.A.F.E.) Coalition, a group that held its kickoff event, quite aptly, on Aug. 26, Women’s Equality Day. Spearheaded initially by members of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Coalition is working to build a grassroots lobbying effort and develop a plan of action to place the Minnesota ERA on the ballot statewide in November 2010.

“We’re keeping it focused,” Murphy said. “This is not linked to other issues. We’re talking, very simply, about women being equal to men under our constitution, so that it would finally read:
Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged or denied by the state of Minnesota or any of its political subdivision on account of gender.

“It’s not enough to assume equality. This is truly about cementing the rights of half of our population into our state law,” Murphy said.

“We’ve been told in the past that until people were knocking on the doors about this initiative, it just wouldn’t get a lot of attention,” Murphy said. “We need to be able to knock down their doors.”

77 cents is not the whole story


When we talk about how important an Equal Rights Amendment will be in our fight for women to gain wage equality, we hear a familiar figure.

In 2007, on average, women in Minnesota earned 77 cents to each dollar earned by a Minnesota male.

Source: National Women’s Law Center

This statistic is pretty upsetting, but it’s not the whole story.  The wage gap is even more pronounced for Minnesota women of color.


  • African-American women in Minnesota, working full-time, year-round, earn only 59 cents on the dollar earned by white Minnesota men.
  • Hispanic women in Minnesota, working full-time, year-round, earn only 47 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic Minnesota men.


The study also shows that the wage gap remains consistent across professions and levels of education.

This photo illustration makes us laugh because if we didn’t, we’d cry.  But notice the small print on the bottom:


Minnesota’s Equal Rights Amendment will not pass itself.  We need you!