A rally titled “Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Human Rights” was held in opposition of the proposed Amendment One on Nov. 1 in Room 123 of the Humanities and Social Sciences building.
The rally was hosted by the UT’s chapter of the Feminist Majority Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on issues such as reproductive rights and gender equality. Knoxville lawyer Wanda Sobieski was the guest speaker for the rally. In addition to practicing law, Sobieski is a coordinator for the Woman Suffrage Coalition and a member of the League of Women Voters.
Sobieski used a legal standpoint to argue against Amendment One. Sobieski described the Constitution as a “contract” between lawmakers and citizens, with the Bill of Rights being the “people’s part of the contract.”
“The power of this government is supposed to come from the people who created it,” Sobieski said.
Sobieski explained privacy rights that are implicit in the Constitution and how Roe v. Wade was designed to strengthen those rights for women. Sobieski said the state of Tennessee is “individualistic,” and the Tennessee Constitution provides citizens of Tennessee with very strong privacy rights.
Sobieski also talked about strict scrutiny, a form of judicial review that is used to determine whether or not a piece of legislation is constitutional. Legislation has to have a “compelling governmental interest” to pass strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny is designed to deter government intrusion in individual lives. Sobieski said because the U.S. Supreme Court is becoming more conservative, the standards for what is considered intrusive are lowering. Sobieski said passing Amendment One would strip privacy rights and make discrimination against women easier.
“We still don’t have equal rights or equal pay, and now they wanna take away the extra protection we have in the Tennessee constitution,” Sobieski said.
Kalemah Taalibdin, UT sophomore and campus organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation, said that the event was meant to help others talk about the issue of Amendment One.
“It was meant to be a Q & A type, informal event,” Taalibdin said. “It was also a forum to make new allies for the organization and other people on campus.”
Edited by Maggie Jones
News editor, Courtney Anderson, has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. From scribbling short stories on the back of pamphlets to excelling in Advanced Placement English courses in high school, Anderson has always been determined to make a career out of writing. Anderson joined TNJN as a freshman and instantly fell in love with online news. She hopes to become an editor for a major online news source one day.