What is the Equal Rights Amendment II (ERA2)?

The “Equal Rights Amendment II” (or “ERA II”) is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  It reads as follows:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex, sexual orientation, gender, or choice of spouse or partner.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Upon ratification, the Equal Rights Amendment II prohibits discrimination under U.S. and state law on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender, or choice of spouse or partner.

The Equal Rights Amendment II was developed by the Humane Party from 2009 to 2015. The text draws on the language of the original Equal Rights Amendment, which was drafted by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman in 1923 and narrowly failed ratification as part of the U.S. Constitution during the 20th century.

Equal Rights Amendment II (ERA2) image by Chris Censullo

Equal Rights Amendment II (ERA2) image by Chris Censullo

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What is the Democracy Amendment?

The Democracy for America Amendment (or simply the “Democracy Amendment”) is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Upon ratification, the Democracy Amendment will replace the U.S.’s Electoral College system for determining the next President of the United States with democratic elections of the U.S. President.

By replacing the Electoral College system with democratic elections, the U.S. can avoid recurrence of situations in which one Presidential candidate wins the popular vote but another candidate still becomes President.

The full, final text of the Democracy for America Amendment reads as follows:

Section 1.  The President and Vice President shall be elected by the citizens of the United States.

Section 2.  This article shall become operative two years after ratification.

Democracy Amendment

Democracy Amendment

What are the primary effects and impact of the Abolition Amendment?

The specific language of the first draft of the Abolition Amendment was subject to public commentary through Jan. 25, 2016, and the second draft was subject to public comment through March 31, 2016.  While the final wording of the Abolition Amendment—scheduled for publication on Abolition Day, 2016—may differ from these drafts, here are some general comments.

Some effects of the Abolition Amendment are the same as those of the APE Amendment (final draft published Dec. 6, 2015) and the 13th Amendment (ratified Dec. 6, 1865), which forbid primate slavery and human slavery, respectively.

The key distinction between the Abolition Amendment and these prior amendments is that the Abolition Amendment abolishes the property status of any and all animals—not just that of humans or primates.  In so doing, the Abolition Amendment puts an immediate end to all remaining animal-killing-based and exploitation-based industries, including:

  • meat
  • fish
  • poultry
  • dairy, veal
  • eggs
  • leather
  • fur
  • rodeos
  • vivisection (“animal testing”)

Removing these inherently violent and oppressive industries and practices from our nation represents the culmination of a political movement toward freedom and liberty that began more than 200 years ago in the United States.  Abolition also ushers in a new day of economic prosperity, national security, and environmental recovery.

What are the primary effects and impact of the APE Amendment?

The primary effects and impact of the American Primate Emancipation Amendment (or APE Amendment) are those of:

1. Abolishing slavery with respect to all primates. Just as the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution served to abolish the institution of human slavery within the U.S., the APE Amendment abolishes the institution of slavery for all other primates. Such abolition means that primates—including apes, monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and several other mammalian species who are particularly closely related to homo sapiens—can no longer be treated as “property” and therefore can no longer be used for entertainment purposes, vivisection, or other forms of exploitation.

2. Recognizing the availability of the writ of habeas corpus for protecting the rights of all primates. The writ of habeas corpus is a key procedural mechanism for protecting the substantive rights of individuals in the American legal system. This mechanism allows demand, through a legal proceeding, that either (i) an adequate reason for holding an individual in captivity be demonstrated or (ii) the individual be released. By explicitly making the writ of habeas corpus available for safeguarding the rights of all primates, the APE Amendment activates a key vehicle for ensuring that other primates are free from slavery not only in theory but in actuality.

3. Providing a guardian ad litem when necessary to protect the rights of a primate. In the American legal system, when an individual does not have the capacity to properly protect his or her rights (e.g., an infant), a guardian ad litem can be appointed to act on behalf of the incapacitated individual. By explicitly making the guardian ad litem procedural mechanism available for use with respect to all primates, the APE Amendment activates another key vehicle for ensuring that other primates are free from slavery not only in theory but in actuality.

4. Eliminating the 13th Amendment exception for slavery in criminal cases. The language of the 13th Amendment provides an exception to its general prohibition of human slavery, namely, an exception for “punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”. The APE Amendment eliminates this exception, both for humans and for all other primates.  In closing this loophole, the APE Amendment directly affects humans and enhances humans’ civil rights in the United States.  This enhanced protection of human rights is particularly relevant and important in America today, where the Democrat-Republican bloc has incarcerated the largest population of prisoners in the world and has transformed the criminal justice system into a for-profit prison system.

APE Amendment

APE Amendment

Is the Humane Party abolitionist?

Yes.  The Humane Party platform calls for abolishing the property status of all animals throughout the United States of America.  The HP developed the Abolition Amendment, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for this very reason and created Aboliton Day (December 6) to promote abolition.

Here is the relevant excerpt from the Humane Party platform (2014 edition):

RESOLVED that appropriate legislation be enacted and appropriate governmental action taken so as to:

  • end inhumane, scientifically indefensible, and economically unsound exploitation of other species by humans, such legislation and action including but not limited to:

    1. elimination of both domestic and foreign trade in sentient beings, regardless of species;
    2. elimination of torture, mutilation, and slaughter of such beings;
    3. elimination of both domestic and foreign trade in products resulting from or obtained by way of such exploitation, such products including dead body parts of animals and live animal secretions; and
    4. elimination of services that include or are provided by way of such exploitation, such services including experiments performed on live animals and entertainment events that include live animals.
  • abolish the property status of (“emancipate”) other animals by either:

    1. explicitly recognizing all other animals as fully protected individuals under the 13th Amendment prohibition of slavery; or
    2. ratifying a new Constitutional amendment emancipating all other animals.

~ The Humane Party Platform

"Wow.. Being Property Sucks." - cartoon by Jim Bertram, 2011

“Wow.. Being Property Sucks.” – cartoon by Jim Bertram, 2011

What is the APE Amendment?

APE Amendment image by Christopher Censullo

APE Amendment image by Christopher Censullo

The American Primate Emancipation Amendment—or simply the “APE” Amendment, for short—is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The effect of the APE Amendment is to:

  • abolish slavery with respect to all primates in the United States of America
  • recognize habeas corpus mechanism for protecting the rights of all primates
  • recognize guardian ad litem mechanism for protecting the rights of all primates
  • eliminate the 13th Amendment’s exception for criminal cases

The text of the APE Amendment is modeled on that of the 13th Amendment. After years of development by the Humane Party legal team, versions of the APE Amendment text were subjected to three separate periods for public comment during 2015. After all public comments had been reviewed and final revisions made, the final version of the APE Amendment was signed into its current form by Clifton Roberts, then serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Party, on October 19, 2015.

The final text of the APE Amendment was published on the first annual American Abolition Day, December 6, 2015.

The full text of the American Primate Emancipation Amendment reads as follows:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude of any primate shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall be available to ensure the rights of all primates.
Section 3. Every primate who does not have a guardian shall be provided a guardian ad litem when necessary to protect the primate’s rights.
Section 4. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.