To the editor:
A great Midwesterner passed away recently on March 14: Birch Bayh of Indiana. And what makes him so great? Title IX, among other things.
Every time you attend a local high school girls’ basketball game you have reason to thank Birch Bayh. Any sporting event where you see girls competing at a high level of skill and talent you have Birch Bayh to thank.
More than any one person, Birch Bayh was responsible for passing the legislation that led to equal opportunity for girls at every educational institution in our country to participate in sports - with the same funding and resources that were and are allocated to boys’ athletics.
Birch Bayh was also responsible for passing the 25th and 26th Amendments to the constitution. The 25th allows for a president who is incapacitated either physically or mentally to be removed from office. The 26th gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. At the moment, the 26th amendment has had a larger impact on our culture, government and society. The 25th has that potential. Some people are even suggesting that 16-year-olds be given the right to vote. I wonder what Sen. Bayh would have thought of that - guess we will never know.
Birch Bayh also championed the equal rights amendment for women that did not pass. But we may be seeing another version of the amendment down the road a piece. With increasing numbers of women in both the House and the Senate, we are likely to see more legislation regarding the rights of women in our society. “Equal Pay for Equal Work,” for example.
Birch Bayh‘s life and legacy is something we can all be proud of. He is a politician we can be proud of. A midwesterner we can be proud of. And a man who was and is a great example for us all.
Fairfield has enjoyed stellar success with its girls’ sports teams in recent years, and this year has surpassed them all. Think of Title IX the next time you are at a girls’ sporting event, and maybe say a word of thanks to Birch Bayh, too.
P.S. March is Women’s History Month.