Jesse Ventura on Civil Rights
Former Independent MN Governor
Our government can only protect rights, it can’t always enforce responsibilities. That part is up to us. But practically speaking, you can’t have one without the other. Women have done a terrific job over the past few decades of breaking down the barriers that denied them equal rights. I’m all for that.
But I hear an awful lot of women arguing for equal treatment, but then the minute the going gets tough, they start hollering about harassment and abuse. We seem to have gotten so overly sensitive about harassment that it makes it look like women can’t handle any kind of sexual overtures from men at all. I think we need to get a whole lot clearer on what we mean by harassment and assault, because right now the definition is arbitrary.
It often happens today that a committed gay couple isn’t permitted to function the way a committed (married) heterosexual couple would, [such as in hospital visitations]. Legalized gay partnerships would allow gays to become something they have never become before in the eyes of the law: family.
But I draw the line at calling gay partnerships “marriage.” Marriage is something different. My dictionary says marriage is a union between a man and a woman. I don’t think we need to be diluting that definition just to make sure gays have the privilege of being in a committed union. I think a term like “domestic partnership” works fine.
Artists who sell their work commercially or who work under private grants are beholden to the public and to their patrons. Not so with the NEA. As an arm of the government, the NEA is in the awkward position of handing out the cash without being able to place any conditions on what it gets for that money, because for the government to limit what an artist can “say,” verbally or symbolically, is a breach of the First Amendment.
And so you often get government-sponsored art that would probably never make it in a commercial venue. You have a right to say whatever you want, verbally or symbolically, but that doesn’t mean you have a right to get a government handout for it.
A: Yes. We should be prosecuting the crime, not the person. Prosecution and sentencing should be colorblind. When someone is sentenced, the only items that should be taken into account are their criminal record, nature of the crime committed and sentence guidelines for the crime. Race has no place in prosecution or sentencing.
In 1976 the National Governors Association expressed support for ratification and implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would constitutionally guarantee full citizenship rights and opportunities for women. In 1982 the drive for ratification fell short, and efforts to initiate the amendatory process were taken.
The National Governors Association reaffirms its support for the principles embodied in the Equal Rights Amendment, i.e., that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on the basis of gender.
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