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After a Generation of Extremism, Phyllis Schlafly Still a Leading General in the War on Women

At 87, Schlafly is still on the warpath, gracing any podium that will have her with a font of barbed quips, bad facts and bitter resentment.

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"Fruit and Nuts"

Schlafly, who has a gay son, made her usual pitch against same-sex marriage, characterizing it as a force for societal instability. "In 31 states -- every time it's on the referendum, people stand up," she said. "Even in California, the land of fruit and nuts, they voted for traditional marriage...To have marriage as the fundamental unit of our society is the best way to keep government out of our lives. You can solve your own problems, and deal with life the way it comes." 

A man in the audience who described himself as gay asked for her position on civil unions, as opposed to same-sex marriage. "Civil unions? Well, it's not on my agenda to really fight about..." she replied. She castigated the administration for refusing to take up the cause of the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court even as it set out to defend the healthcare law.

Although the word "transgender" never came up, Schlafly contended that what feminists were really seeking was "gender interchangeability," and they were confusing "little kids" by making them think they could choose their gender. "The feminist teachers think that little boys are just unruly girls," she said, "and this is why many schools are abolishing recess, or they're even building new schools without playgrounds....To try to make boys act like girls is very harmful to the little boys."

Enjoy Being a Girl

Summing up her talk, Schlafly urged the young women in her audience to accept their lot with gratitude. There were no glass ceilings, she said, no obstacles to their success and happiness, so long as they got married, had children and stayed home to take care of them. 

"American women are the most fortunate people who ever lived..." she said. "I've been to Africa; I have seen women having to carry their firewood on their heads. You don't have to do that. But even the New York Times printed a picture of women in Africa doing their laundry in a river. We have all of these wonderful modern conveniences that men have invented for our pleasure." 

Well, one woman's definition of pleasure.


Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington correspondent. Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/addiestan

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