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tv   The Seventies  CNN  December 17, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST

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♪ thousands of women gather as a symbolic torch marked the beginning of a national women's conference. >> we think there is going to be a struggle. and we don't think that men are going to give us their power and privilege easily. >> american women are the most privileged group of all time, and they're still not satisfied. >> the equal rights amendment should be ratified. >> i love homosexuals. if you can believe it. i love them enough to tell them the truth. >> approving of sexual perversion, what a disgrace! >> a constitutional amendment appears on the way proclaiming women have all the same rights as that other sex. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ there are a lot of women in this country who feel that they're being pushed around. and they have become very vocal. they call themselves the women's liberation movement. we have two representatives from that movement here tonight. they're both writers.
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susan brown miller had a piece in "the sunday times" a couple of weeks back, and sally kempton. >> i think i had every women's lib star on the show, once with hugh hefner of "playboy." that was exciting. >> what do you think men are doing wrong? >> they oppress us as women. they won't let us be. and hugh hefner is my enemy. >> is hef your enemy? we really set you up tonight. >> i'm more in sympathy than perhaps the girls realize -- >> women. >> i'm sorry. >> women. yes. i'm 35. >> than the ladies realize. i use "girls" referring to women of all ages. >> you should stop. >> they came on, i would say, to gut hugh hefner. >> the day you are willing to come out with a cotton tail attached to your rear end. >> women had so much to talk about because the dialogue on so many of our issues was controlled by men. >> there are some of you who reject men altogether.
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they won't sit in the same room with a man if they can avoid it. are you two of those ladies? >> we think there's going to be a struggle. we don't think that men are going to give up their power and privilege easily. >> the women's movement, the sexual revelation and the gay liberation movement all had their origins before the '70s. but the '70s are when americans had to make sense of them in their daily lives and in their institutions and communities. >> women's liberation is only one of a number of groups ranging from stridently militant to traditionally feminist who feel that women haven't yet won their rights. they don't constitute a majority of women but their numbers are growing. >> today all over this nation the women's liberation movement is marking the 50th anniversary of women gaining the vote by demonstrations and strikes. >> join us now! sisterhood is powerful! join us now! >> the national organization for women called a nationwide women's strike. there were big posters, don't iron while the strike is hot.
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>> it was meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the granting of suffrage to american women. it followed up on almost a decade of protests and movements in american society. >> this strike has put our demands on the political agenda and they are there to stay and they will be given priority. and it has shown us our power to achieve changes that are needed. the next step is from america to the world. >> it was a betty friedan operation, it was definitely that. >> a great tribute to her. >> it just spontaneously turned out to be the best thing ever. >> they have three demands according to the ladies organizing the strike, free child care centers running 24 hours a day, equal education and employment, and free abortions on request. >> free abortions on request! >> it was a wonderful consciousness-raising moment to demonstrate the seriousness, the rage. it was a revolutionary high. it was very moving. >> at the western white house, president nixon said we should
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all recognize that women have a wider role to play in this nation. but on the senate floor, west virginia's jennings randolph characterized women's lib as -- i quote him -- a small band of braless bubbleheads. >> you have to understand how backwards we were on issues involving women's rights then. women couldn't sign a loan. they had to get their husband's approval. women weren't allowed in the military academies. i mean, this is ridiculous. >> i think the point is now to inform other women that the women's liberation organization exists and other women will realize they're not alone. >> first step was consciousness-raising, daring to articulate the problem. second step people begin to write about it. and then you have lawsuits. and then you eventually have legislation. >> in almost every congress since 1923, there has been proposed a constitutional amendment to guarantee equal rights for women. well, today it finally won approval clearing the senate by a vote of 84-8.
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the measure now goes to the states for ratification. >> e.r.a. now! >> the equal rights amendment says equal rights under the law shall not be abridged by the united states or by any state on account of sex. >> male opponents in the senate called it the unisex amendment. they said it would destroy traditional man/woman relationships, weaken family ties, increase homosexuality. >> the equal rights amendment passed first of all because it was a very powerful congresswoman, martha griffiths of michigan, who was strongly in favor of that. secondly, because the republican party wasn't opposed to it. there wasn't a political opposition. it was more cultural opposition. when the equal rights amendment was adopted, it had a seven-year time frame for ratification. otherwise, there would be no equal rights amendment. >> this amendment could have wide repercussions, affecting the military draft, a father's responsibility to support his children, sex crimes, and protective labor legislation. >> i think the very term e.r.a.
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started opening up a look at everything. it was sort of like ripping off the lid and saying, well, are there equal wages? are we getting equal admission into college? every issue started being looked at all kind of under the banner of e.r.a. >> president nixon today signed into law a far-reaching $21 billion education bill which will support educational projects from kindergarten to graduate school. >> title ix is educational equality. it simply says that any educational institution that receives federal funding must provide a fully equal educational experience and educational opportunities to girls and women, the same as for boys and men. >> i used to always ask myself, why don't we have more women doctors and lawyers? well, because i didn't realize we had gender quotas in our classrooms. so title ix just blasted open the doors as far as opportunities, access, all the things that allow people to be the best they can be.
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what was included in there that nobody had thought was a huge deal going on the way in was sports. the idea that suddenly little girls would grow up with the expectation that they were going to play little league, that they were going to be stars on their team, that they were maybe going to get a scholarship to college based on their skills. it was huge. >> people in this country seem to be saying that women, because of their sex, ought not be prohibited from doing anything that men are allowed to do.
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many members of women's lib feel exploited by men, and they startled wall street one day by an exhibition in which roles were reversed. >> look at the legs on that one. oh, i'm so turned on. those pants, they bring out your best. keep your best leg forward, sweetie. >> we're trying to point out what it feels like to be whistled at, put down constantly sexually every time we walk down the street. they tell us we're supposed to think it's a compliment. >> when someone asked a woman in the 1970s, are you liberated, what they meant in general was not, do you believe that individuals should be able to choose their own path in life? it usually meant, do you have sex? and often it meant, will you have sex with me? >> what kind of relationship between the sexes do you advocate? is love out? is sex out? >> unless men change, it's going to be very soon.
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>> people seem to conflate the sexual revolution and women's liberation because people tend to conflate sex and women and for people, read "men." >> i would like to ask, what would it be like to have the initiation and consummation of a sexual contact so that now we can get down to the particulars of the evening. what would it be like after liberation, ideally? >> why do you ask those questions? >> because i don't find it anywhere in the literature. i don't -- >> why do you expect to find it anywhere in literature? >> i really don't know what women are asking for. suppose i wanted to give it to them. >> the liberties they're asking for, honey, is not for you. >> i think if you didn't look at the women's movement favorably it would be very easy, in fact, you might be inclined to lump it in with sexual revolution as saying, the agenda is the same. because then it just makes women
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look sort of unstructured and wanton and running around just looking for the next person to bed. but those two things are very, very different. >> we are too busy doing the work we have to do to fight with the men who disagree with us, and most of us believe sooner or later they'll come along with us anyway because they won't have any choice. >> if women were going to have equal rights, if women were going to have an equal place in society, one of the first things that was going to have to go was the double standard, that women were supposed to be virgins, pure and chaste when they got married, but men were supposed to fool around and have lots of sexual experiences. >> 25 years ago, most young women were expected to be virgins before they got married. if they were not, it was considered a stigma. now, today you're saying there's been a change, which means what? that many more young women are sleeping with someone before marriage? >> yes, undoubtedly. >> how many more? >> 120% more, to be exact.
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>> in many ways, women benefited from the sexual revolution. there's just no doubt about that. the idea that it's okay for women to explore their sexual fantasies and explore their sexual desires. >> i think the sexual revolution had a place in making sex more casual so that people had more sexual partners and sex could have a purpose other than procreation or reproduction. >> oh, it's nice to see you. how are you? >> fine. how are you? >> there was a lot of sexual experimentation in the 1970s, and one place that that experimentation took place was within marriage, by trading partners, having group sex, and rethinking what has become in their mind a kind of rigid monogamy that killed pleasure. >> in southern california, a young couple were exploring with ideas about open marriage, and
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they created a retreat for other people to come and explore those ideas as well. >> i wasn't sure if you wanted to be walking around without clothes on. >> that's funny. i felt the same way. >> you stored away your clothes and lived morning, noon and night as a nudist. and people, if they wished, could indulge in intercourse together. >> a lot of people i haven't seen for a while. >> the idea of this place, as espoused by john williamson and his wife barbara, was to try to eliminate jealousy and sexual possessiveness in marriage. they had a lofty notion of what they were doing. >> monogamy as we know it, marriage as we know it, the american family as we know it, it's not working. and it hasn't worked. it will work even less in the future. >> barbara wanted women to have as many opportunities for sexual experience with other people outside of their spouse as men did.
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and this was going to be one of the tenets of the sandstone experience, equality for the sexes. >> i don't feel that i'm in love with him. like it used to be. i had to feel really close, really loved him. not anymore, you don't have to. >> a lot of times i really wanted to have a relationship with a woman but i was so -- >> go ahead. >> she said go ahead, but i never really believed her. >> i remember sitting there and saying, if they ever went to sandstone she'd like it, he would hate it. she would feel empowered, he would feel disempowered. >> i met a lot of nice people. because i didn't have the inhibition. i left all the doors open for having as many experiences as possible. >> were you ready to leave her once she came home and said what she'd done? >> she said, this is what i want. >> yeah. >> they learned so much about themselves, their partners, negotiating conflict, the power of sexuality. the problem was that there was something deeply built into us biologically that when we really
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cared about somebody, we started becoming territorial. >> what you're doing right now is you're saying, hey, my wife is [ bleep ] me over. do something about it. >> resolving the threats led to two things happening. almost everybody who had an open marriage said in retrospect, i am so glad i had it, and i will never do it again. generosity is its own form of power.
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the supreme court ruled today that if anyone wants to read dirty books or look at dirty movies in his own home, he may do so, and it's none of the law's business. the case came from georgia where the police charged a man with possessing pornographic movies. the law still may regulate the spread of obscenity in public. but the court said a person has every right to satisfy his intellectual and emotional needs in the privacy of his own home. >> up until stanley versus georgia, pornography was something that was really under cover. >> pornography is obviously a loaded term, right? one person's erotica is another person's pornography. >> but in the late '50s and in the early '60s, the supreme court kept narrowing further and further the definition of what is obscene. so by the late '60s you're seeing books, magazines, films that were pretty sexually explicit. and people wondered, are we
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headed for a downfall? >> just before the last election, president johnson appointed a special commission to look into the problem of pornography and its impact on the american people. the republicans moved into the white house, but the commission went right on working. >> the presidential commission was a group of censors who believed the devil had penetrated too deeply into our society. >> the basic finding of the commission was that an analysis of all available studies shows no correlation between the availability of such sex-oriented materials and the rate of sex crimes or sexual pathology. says the report, patrons of such places may be characterized as, quote, predominantly white, middle-class, middle-aged married males dressed in business suits or neat casual attire. >> when johnson set up this commission, he really was trying to produce a view that said pornography's bad. in studying the issue, they changed their view of pornography and said, it's just not that big a deal. >> some enterprising publisher
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may combine the 874 pages of the commission's report and the 59 pages of the dissenting report and put them on the market in paperback form. controversial as these reports are at the moment, that volume may sell. but it won't be nearly as spicy as the material readily available now from your friendly neighborhood adult bookstore. >> when you look back at the early '70s, you really do see a major cultural shift in terms of the availability of pornography. >> the cinematic subculture boils down to one thing, big business at the box office. according to adult film association of america, 2.5 million people slip into darkened x-rated theaters, that's 20% of all moviegoers. >> the biggest film, by all standards, is "deep throat." >> "deep throat" was one of the hardcore porn films that became a sensation, became a movie that people talked to their friends and neighbors about going to see.
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>> they have already, in albany, georgia, have banned the motion picture "carnal knowledge" as being obscene. if they think "carnal knowledge" is obscene in albany, georgia, wait until "deep throat" shows up. they'll have to hose them down with cracked ice down there. >> it's reviewed on local news shows. couples are going to see it on date night. >> jacqueline onassis herself went. >> linda lovelace and harry reams in "deep throat" were celebrities. >> i'd like to see legitimate films and so-called pornographic films merged together. i think the two industries have got to merge together. >> do people walk up to you on the street and recognize you? >> people are afraid of me. >> this is the time when the sexual revolution went mainstream. you could go to the grocery store and buy sex advice in line at the checkout counter. you could buy a kind of knowingness or awareness about sex that was different than what was widely available in the past.
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>> the real way that the sexual revolution filtered down to us was the reading materials we were discovering in our parents' houses, including "the joy of sex." >> it was a modern marriage manual. one of the things that made the book famous was its illustrations. >> you found text accompanied by very specific nude drawings of all manifestations of sexual acts and behavior and posturing. >> why did you write the book? >> well, i think it's the first one that's been based on the knowledge of 1974 rather than 1874. >> this book became amazingly successful in that it was accepted on the coffee tables of american middle-class people. >> it isn't that it gives people information they didn't have or they couldn't have got. what it does is to open up the subject to being something that can be talked about. >> sexual information is now being made available to the public which hadn't been before. one of those was masters and johnson who did an enormous amount of work explaining in excruciating detail to some how both men's and women's bodies
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function during sex. >> there have already been suggestions of sensationalism in some quarters about the book. what are your feelings about this? >> the hope on our part is in some way our work will contribute to a change in the attitude toward sexuality. >> they were painting a picture of women as strong and versatile as sexual creatures. that was not a popular idea before then. >> before the 1970s, it wasn't uncommon not to know anything about sex going into your wedding night, not to understand the sexual process or understand your body at all. >> in those days, asking doctors a question -- and of course a majority of doctors were men, it was very unusual to find a woman doctor -- often what they said is, don't worry your pretty little head about it, to women. "our bodies our selves" grew out of the women's liberation movement. >> it was the first book that's really by women, for women about their bodies.
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>> if you combine that with the pill, you have a pretty potent mix of, wow, i could really take charge of my life in this way. and they did. >> there were like two dialogues about sex in the country and the culture. there was idealized monogamy, and this is what we all think sex should be. and then there was an underground dialogue about what people were really doing, what people really wanted, and that was regarded as dangerous and subversive. that didn't come i think to fruition until the '70s, until you had this generation of people who were coming of age in this new reality of truth-telling, birth control, and openly gay people in the world. >> i really make a distinction between sexual freedom and liberation. gay liberation is just one movement along with women's liberation in this whole process of sexual liberation. >> what's the solution? >> revolution! >> what's the fight? >> gay rights! >> the very first pride parade
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was organized by the christopher street liberation organization. if it sounds like national liberation, that's not a coincidence. >> we want the freedoms, the freedoms to love, and sometimes even to love a bit in public, that belong to the heterosexuals in this country, and we're going to have them.
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the national women's political convention will now come to order. >> this is the first national political assemblage of women to be held in 100 years. it is nonpartisan. nearly 1,000 women of all ages and all political persuasions are attending. >> we didn't really have time to organize, but women read it in the paper or they saw it on television, and they started their own caucuses in their own cities and their own states. >> we will, we must, attack the most difficult issues. we might as well do it because they're going to call us all those names anyway. >> gloria steinem had been a writer at "the new york herald tribune." she was a very compelling figure who had a great way of translating the ideas of feminism to the mass marketplace. she and a bunch of her friends began "ms." magazine.
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>> all revolutions it seems start with a typewriter and three crowded rooms over a bar. and the new york headquarters of the magazine "ms." is no different. it's a magazine designed to serve as a forum for the women's movement. >> the movement itself comes out of telling the truth about our lives. so it just makes sense to devote ourselves to think that women just can't find any place else. >> when she got aggressiveness from men, she handled it in a gracious type of way. she knew how to do the tango with men. >> in view of the fact that men are virtually controlled and dominated by women from birth to puberty and often beyond that, why haven't you done a better job, if you're as smart as you say you are? >> well, that's your statement, not mine, that men are virtually controlled by women from birth onward. i mean, if you take an intelligent person with normal hopes and ambitions and confine her to the home, the truth of her situation is that she has no real power over her life outside
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the home. >> before gloria steinem there was a feeling feminists were marginal in some ways. but the empowerment of women in the 1970s is unlike any other decade in american history. it almost explodes on the national scene. >> women's tennis is in a way the ultimate in women's liberation. men watch billie jean not to ogle her sexy legs but to witness or even learn from her game. >> billie jean king was an icon of the '70s. she was a pioneering figure in women's sports and a pioneering figure in culture. she was tough. and she was smart. and she won. everything you love in an athlete. and, man, did she have guts. she didn't back away from anyone. >> american women are the most privileged group of all-time in history, and they're still not satisfied. we've got to stop those women right now. >> bobby riggs was a longtime tennis star from decades ago and a hustler. >> all i know is i want to keep
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the women barefoot, pregnant and in the bedroom and in the kitchen and taking care of the kids at home. >> and he had started challenging contemporary women tennis players to matches. >> he'd see me, billie, we'll make lots of money, we'll do this, la la. i go, bobby, i've got so much work to do with the tour, i can't even think straight. then margaret court said yes. >> margaret court was the number one ranked woman in the world at the time. >> i was just like pleading with her. it's going to be a circus so get ready. she lost the match when he gave her roses and she curtsied. she lost the match before they hit the first ball. done. she played probably the worst tennis of her life. as soon as she lost, i knew i had to play. >> in the latest news on tennis and the war between the sexes, it was announced today, believe it or not that bobby riggs, the old champ, will play billie jean king, the women's wimbledon
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winner, for a $100,000 prize. >> what a scene it is. the celebrities present, more than 30,000 people, for an all-time record tennis audience anywhere in the world. here comes billie jean king, a very attractive young lady if she'd ever let her hair grow down to her shoulders, took her glasses off. you'd have somebody vying for a hollywood screen test. there she is. >> when she was brought out on that golden litter with these young guys carrying her and she's waving, immediately i thought, my god, she knew how to play him at his own game. >> there's bobby doing his thing. >> the whole thing was a circus. there was this sense of like people taking sides and it was jokey. but there was an underlying current of, this is for real. >> first serve. >> bobby riggs leading 3-2.
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>> i was down 4-2 in the first set. everybody forgets that. i missed overheads. i never miss overheads, hardly ever. that was my moment of truth. i thought about what my life would be like if i lost. i thought about, what would it do for others if i won this match? i had all kinds of doubts. i was scared. i just had to win. for title ix, everything. come on, you've got to do this. >> she's got him running. yes, with a brilliant place! >> game ms. king. >> beautiful shot! >> match point for billie jean king. >> she beats bobby riggs in three straight sets. >> something broke through that
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day, that men had to acknowledge that just by dint of being male you weren't always better, because billie jean king kicked his ass. >> mrs. king trounced riggs in three straight sets last night. it wasn't much of a contest. billie jean savored her victory at courtside, and her fans across the country did the same. >> i like the fact that billie jean won. that the female won. >> well, the two men in my family left me alone with the match after we saw how it was going to go and watched "bonnie & clyde." but i loved every minute of it. with no surprise overages, you can use your data worry free and even carry over the data you don't use. and right now get four lines and 20 gigs for only $40 per line. you'll even get the iphone 7, the samsung galaxy s7, the pixel phone by google,
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excuse me, do you agree with this women's liberation movement? >> no, i don't. >> why not? >> because i like my life the way it is. >> a woman's place is with a man on top of him in this world. >> there were a mess of housewives, grandmothers. mothers, who felt as if they were not only being left out of this but denigrated by it. that the movement was saying their choices were stupid and dumb. >> having a happy husband and happy children makes us happy. >> they had always been
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celebrated for having chosen to be a mom and a wife and stay at home. now suddenly overnight people were saying that they're slaves, they're comparing them to prostitutes. and it made perfect sense to me that those women would get really ticked off and frightened. and anybody who came along who was clever enough and manipulative enough to pick up their story and frighten them some more could do a whole lot of damage to the equal rights amendment. >> i would like to thank my husband, fred, for letting me come today. i love to say that because it irritates the women's libbers more than anything that i say. >> phyllis schlafly became the voice of the opposition of the e.r.a., and she was quite competent at it. >> she saw it as her mission to stop this what she saw as an assault on american womanhood. >> i would like to begin by asking mrs. schlafly to state her principal objection to e.r.a. >> e.r.a. won't give women anything which they haven't
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already got or have a way of getting. but on the other hand it will take away from women some of the most important rights and benefits and exemptions we now have. i think the laws of our country have given a very wonderful status to the married woman. and the wife has a great deal of many rights. for example, she has the legal right to be supported by her husband. >> there is no law whatsoever in any state that requires a husband to support his wife. it's clearly true that the equal rights amendment is going to be passed -- >> i don't know. mrs. schlafly is not going to let it pass. are you? >> no, i don't think. more states have rejected it this year than have passed it. >> we have gotten eight states to vote to ratify it this year. we have 30 states. >> we have 14 states to reject it. >> they can't reject it. nobody can reject it. >> my goodness. >> she said, you have a good deal, women. you are an exalted member of the human race, you are held to a higher standard, you're put on a pedestal, you're protected by men, you're provided for by men. why would you want to give that up?
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it's a good deal. and a lot of people agreed with that logic, that equal rights was a scary thing. >> we do not want our lives to be run and our world changed by the militant women who are demanding what they call a gender-free society. >> this is a time of testing for the equal rights amendment. the ratification battle moves from one state legislature to another. supporters have found the amendment increasingly hard to put across. >> the biggest problem i'm having is distinguishing between abortion and the equal rights amendment. my area is very conservative and they're against abortion. >> do you also believe those who vote for the e.r.a. today will also be voting for abortion? >> they won't be voting for abortion, but what they will be doing is voting to deny to the state legislatures the power to regulate or stop abortion, which you might say has the same effect. >> in a landmark ruling, the supreme court today legalized abortions.
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the majority in cases from texas and georgia said the decision to end a pregnancy during the first three months belongs to the woman and her doctor, not the government. thus, the anti-abortion laws of 46 states were rendered unconstitutional. >> roe v. wade accepted that a woman really cannot be equal if she doesn't have control over her reproductive ability. it was as simple as that. >> the newly liberalized abortion law brought immediate reaction. >> i think that the judgment of the court will do a great deal to tear down the respect previously accorded human life in our culture. >> what's interesting about roe versus wade is while it does legalize abortion, it as much really mobilizes the opposition. >> we protest today the holocaust of the 1970s in america. >> conservatives didn't used to mess with politics that much. and they start to campaign. it was the rise of extreme activist conservatism in america.
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>> certain conservatives don't know what to do with their frustration and with their yearning for the good old days and decide the problem are gays. >> the battle over homosexual rights in dade county, florida, comes to a vote there tuesday. the issue is whether or not to repeal a four-month-old ordinance which prohibits job and housing discrimination against homosexuals. >> anita bryant, a miss america runner-up in 1959, is today an entertainer and mother of four who says she wants to save her children from homosexual influences. she doesn't want gays teaching. she led the petition drive forcing the referendum. >> anita bryant was a singer and for quite a few americans she was a symbol of the beginning of pushing back against the social experiments of the decade. >> i love homosexuals, if you can believe that. i love them enough to tell them
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the truth because i know there is hope for the homosexuals that if they're willing to turn from sin, the same as any individual, that they can be ex-homosexuals the same as there can be an ex-murderer, an ex-thief, or ex-anybody. >> i feel very strongly that what we're faced with today is something that is being camouflaged under christian faith, christian love, that is one of the most vicious hate campaigns this country has ever seen. >> anita bryant's efforts definitely mobilized the gay community. sometimes having a visible opponent is a great unifying force. >> tonight the laws of god and the cultural values of man have been vindicated. >> they win the campaign, but it has a national resonance. >> this is what heterosexuals do, fellows. >> and for many gays, anita bryant is a symbol of this intractable prejudice. >> we were going to go on a crusade across the nation and try to do away with the homosexuals and were met with
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protests and all kinds of problems. >> security, security -- >> let them stay, let them stay. >> no. well, at least it's a fruit pie. >> let's pray. anita, why don't you pray. >> father, we want to thank you for the opportunity of coming to des moines and that we're praying for him to be delivered from his deviant lifestyle, father. >> nothing has done more to advance the cause of gay acceptance and gay rights than people like anita bryant. >> thus always the bigots. >> she campaigned for a vicious anti-gay law in california that helped make harvey milk a national figure. >> as political parades go, it was a little unusual. harvey milk on his way to city hall to be sworn in as a supervisor in san francisco. >> the harvey milk hope speech, that was a moment when a lot of people in the gay community said, something has shifted in our collective subconscious and what we feel we're entitled to. >> i will fight to represent my
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constituents. i will fight to represent the city and county of san francisco. i will fight to give those people who had once walked away hope so that those people will walk back in. thank you very much.
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in the 1970s, there's enormous amount of change.
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it looks like you're going to get an equal rights amendment. gays are no longer considered to be mentally ill. roe v. wade legalizes abortion. there is a sense that it's just going to be more and more individual freedom. and then it stops. >> the equal rights amendment has encountered difficulties in another state, this time it's south carolina. ♪ god bless america land that i love ♪ >> they were for the most part fundamentalist southern baptists. e.r.a. was not their only concern. they were also supporting legislation to ban public funds for abortions and voicing approval of a measure being prepared to stop state control over private christian schools. >> e.r.a. got all tied up with roe versus wade. when you have roe versus wade, now you're turning evangelical christians against the women's movement. >> we have some beautiful women with us today, some women who know that they were created the way god wanted them. there are some very basic
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essential differences between man and woman. i hope god keeps it that way. >> i think when you study the e.r.a. and see what it really means to women, that the women don't want it, the men don't want it, and so, by public outcry, as you people are doing here today, we will beat e.r.a. >> two, four, six, eight -- >> thousands of women gathered in houston today as a symbolic torch marked the beginning of a national women's conference. >> with the e.r.a. losing momentum, people were trying to figure out what to do, and this was going to be an attempt to sort of push things forward. >> between now and adjournment on monday, this conference will consider 26 resolutions asking the president and government to do something about the problems of homemakers, mothers and their children, older women, working women, and about the victims of rape, abuse, and discrimination. >> e.r.a.! >> support has been given by former first ladies ford and
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johnson and first lady rosalyn carter. it is hoped that this display of united appeal will add momentum to passage of the amendment in the remaining three states that are needed. >> across town, there was an even bigger gathering. about 11,000 men and women who oppose the beliefs of most of the delegates to the women's conference. >> i'm very proud that they excluded me from that convention, and i'm here where we're not ashamed and not afraid to ask god's blessing on this crowd assembled here today. >> the equal rights amendment should be ratified. >> that is not what american women want. >> we support reproductive freedom for women. >> they simply take the lovely baby and they rip it out. >> all those in favor of the sexual preference resolution, please rise. >> three first ladies approving
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of sexual perversion and the murder of young people in their mother's womb! what a disgrace! >> it came so very close, and the fact that it didn't pass says a lot about the power of the response to the social experiment of the '70s. >> a lot of us thought what was going to happen is we were all going to renegotiate this individually and it was going to be open and honest and we were going to get past traditional gender roles. and by and large i don't think it really worked out that way. >> to a lot of people, women on the offensive are offensive and frightening. but nevertheless it is the women who have challenged the old habits and customs and rules and laws and prejudices. >> it was our decade. the women's movement for equality is already changing the life not only of my daughter and sons but of you and me. and it's happened so much more quickly than anybody could believe. >> even if the equal rights
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amendment has been lost forever, every little girl in america when she's in grade school is already thinking about what she's going to be when she grows up. >> the whole idea that women could have jobs and careers and a sex life, a complete life, that's the transformation that's never going to go backwards. >> i think it's a seismic shift. i think it's a shift so deep and so ongoing that we can't even estimate it yet. the problem is we don't stand up and say, hey, we're the folks who brought you this and we've got to learn to do this because we are the folks who brought you this. >> you have been very active as a spokesperson for the women's movement. do you feel now that we're getting close to the '80s that you were able to accomplish in the '70s what you set out to do? >> i don't know, it's much more organic than that in a way. at least in the '70s all the major issues of the women's movement, whether it's equal pay for equal work, reproductive freedom, the equal rights amendment, they all now have majority support.
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so in a way our dreams were set free a little bit in the '70s, and for me it means you can be yourself as a unique individual. what could be more important than that? ♪ laying the blame on vladimir putin. barack obama points to the highest levels of the russian government for interfering with the u.s. election campaign. new hope for people in east aleppo. rebels say they've reached another evacuation agreement. this after the previous one fell apart. plus, venezuela's economic woes grow deeper as people run low on usable cash. live from cnn world headquarters in atlanta, welcome. to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm george howell. >> i'm natalie allen. "cnn newsroom" starts right now. it is 4:00 a


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