Interviewee: Anne Culhane
IWY TX 123
Interviewer: Sister Marie Heyda
Date: November 18-21, 1977
Anne Culhane was an elected delegate from Illinois and considered herself a “pro-family, pro-American” delegate. Culhane supported the anti-Equal Rights Amendment movement and she spent time at the “pro-family rally” at the Astroarena. Interview includes discussion of: the anti-ERA stance; the leaders of the conference at the Astroarena; Culhane’s support of the EEOC but not affirmative action; and her support of laissez-faire economics. Culhane believed that the ERA was a “fraudulent piece of legislation.”
Anne Culhane: I’m Anne Culhane, an elected delegate from Illinois to the IWY Houston conference. I am one of twenty-four pro-family, pro-American delegates. We differ from the majority of delegates here today in that we believe in the necessity for the stability of the family to achieve the type of progress that has already been achieved in this country, to produce productive citizens, and to continue the course this country has been on for the last two hundred years. This course is now in jeopardy because of the kinds of resolutions that are presented at this conference beginning today.
Marie Heyda: You have that banner there, that symbol.
AC: Stop ERA Majority, which symbolizes that we believe that the great majority of Americans who are knowledgeable of what is involved with the Equal Rights Amendment do oppose the amendment. We believe that time and history has already proven that when the public is informed as to what ERA involved, they are overwhelmingly against it. This has been proven by the fact that ERA was approved in the Congress in 1972. Some five-and-a-half years later it has not been ratified by the necessary number of states. The proponents of this amendment realize it very likely will not be approved within the time limit that was allotted by Congress in seven years. They have asked for a seven-year extension, which would be completely contradictory to what is contained in our Constitution.
MH: Where is your group meeting? Can you tell something about what they’re doing during this time?
AC: A great many of those who have come down here to Houston are meeting today, which has been declared a national family day at the Astroarena. They are over there, about ten thousand of them. I left the arena before coming here to vote on the resolutions which I am required to do as an official delegate to this conference. They have come from every state in the nation to object to the manner and the substance in which this conference has been conducted, both at the state level and today.
MH: Who are your leaders? What are their names?
AC: We have a number of leaders who have spoken today at the pro-family pro-American conference that we are holding at the Astroarena. A number of members of our Congress have participated there: Congressman Dornan of California; Senator Joan Govens of Indiana is our floor leader here at the IWY conference; certainly Phyllis Schlafly of Illinois is to be credited with first doing the research on ERA which has turned it around to the extent, as I said before, it undoubtedly will not be passed by 1979. In addition, I would like to mention, because of the large population of New York, that when this amendment was put on a state referendum for a state ERA, with identical wording to the federal ERA, it was overwhelmingly defeated in New York and in New Jersey.
MH: Would you discount or deny that women suffer discrimination in reference to lower salary for the same work?
AC: No, I would not deny that women have had a justifiable grievance as far as discrimination in certain areas. Undoubtedly they are still discriminated against today. They will be discriminated against as other people in other categories will be discriminated against.
MH: Do you have any solutions?
AC: Well, I think we already have some very excellent solutions. We have excellent federal laws which now guarantee against women being discriminated against and I think that the very fact –
MH: You mean affirmative action, for instance?
AC: I am not speaking – I am not in favor of affirmative action as it has been carried out in this country, because what affirmative action means first of all are quota systems and quota systems are not a legitimate means of solving the discrimination against women. However, I think that such agencies as the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, which now has about 100,000 cases before it, is an excellent means and excellent proof that if women are discriminated against they have recourse in our federal law, in a federal commission. We also have the other, the Equal Education Opportunity –
MH: Well, that’s interesting that you agree that there is need, but you don’t agree with the –
AC: We are certainly for equal rights. We’re not for preferential rights. We are against ERA because ERA is really a fraudulent piece of legislation in that it will not really give women any rights which they do not have. It will take away, however, rights which they do have. It is simply a matter of semantics. It really is not an equal rights amendment for women.
MH: Well, I think that’s interesting that you are basically in accord with the women meeting here, but as to the remedy, you differ there.
AC: Well I would say that the majority of women meeting here are for preferential rights. They are for extreme involvement of government in business and in their personal lives, into all types of areas which we see as a threat to the rights that women now have.
MH: You prefer that laissez-faire.
End of Interview