1976 Republican Platform: Equal Rights and Ending Discrimination

Roadblocks must be removed that may prevent Americans from realizing their full potential in society. Unfair discrimination ibly [sic.] weighs morally, economically and politically upon a free nation.

While working to eradicate discriminatory practices, every citizen should be encouraged to take pride in and foster the cultural heritage that has been passed on from previous generations. Almost every American traces ancestry from another country; this cultural diversity gives strength to our national heritage.

There must be vigorous enforcement of laws to assure equal treatment in job recruitment, hiring, promotion, pay, credit, mortgage access and housing. The way to end discrimination, however, is not by resurrecting the much discredited quota system and attempting to cloak it in an aura of new respectability. Rather, we must provide alternative means of assisting the victims of past discrimination to realize their full worth as American citizens.

Wiping out past discrimination requires continued emphasis on providing educational opportunities for minority citizens, increasing direct and guaranteed loans to minority business enterprises, and affording qualified minority persons equal opportunities for government positions at all levels.


Women, who comprise a numerical majority of the population, have been denied a just portion of our nation's rights and opportunities. We reaffirm our pledge to work to eliminate discrimination in all areas for reasons of race, color, national origin, age, creed or sex and to enforce vigorously laws guaranteeing women equal rights.

The Republican Party reaffirms its support for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Our Party was the first national party to endorse the E.R.A. in 1940. We continue to believe its ratification is essential to insure equal rights for all Americans. In our 1972 Platform, the Republican Party recognized the great contributions women have made to society as homemakers and mothers, as contributors to the community through volunteer work, and as members of the labor force in careers. The Platform stated then, and repeats now, that the Republican Party "fully endorses the principle of equal rights, equal opportunities and equal responsibilities for women." The Equal Rights Amendment is the embodiment of this principle and therefore we support its swift ratification.

The question of abortion is one of the most difficult and controversial of our time. It is undoubtedly a moral and personal issue but it also involves complex questions relating to medical science and criminal justice. There are those in our Party who favor complete support for the Supreme Court decision which permits abortion on demand. There are others who share sincere convictions that the Supreme Court's decision must be changed by a constitutional amendment prohibiting all abortions. Others have yet to take a position, or they have assumed a stance somewhere in between polar positions.

We protest the Supreme Court's intrusion into the family structure through its denial of the parents' obligation and right to guide their minor children. The Republican Party favors a continuance of the public dialogue on abortion and supports the efforts of those who seek enactment of a constitutional amendment to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children.

The Social Security System, our federal tax laws, and unemployment and disability programs currently discriminate against women and often work against married couples as well. These inequities must be corrected. We recognize that special support must be given to the increasing number of women who have assumed responsibility as the heads of households while also being wage earners. Programs for job training, counseling and other services should be established to help them attain their dual role in society.

We reiterate the pledges elsewhere in this platform of support for child care assistance, part-time and flexible-time work that enables men and women to combine employment and family responsibilities, estate tax reform, small business assistance for women, rape prevention and elimination of discriminatory housing practices.

Ethnic Americans

Ethnic Americans have enriched this nation with their hard work, self-reliance and respect for the rights and needs of others. Ethnic groups reaching our shores at various times have given our country its unique identity and strength among the nations of the world. We recognize and value the contributions of Ethnic Americans to our free and democratic society.


When language is a cause of discrimination, there must be an intensive educational effort to enable Spanish-speaking students to become fully proficient in English while maintaining their own language and cultural heritage. Hispanic-Americans must not be treated as second-class citizens in schools, employment or any other aspect of life just because English is not their first language. Hispanic-Americans truly believe that individual integrity must be paramount; what they want most from government and politics is the opportunity to participate fully. The Republican Party has and always will offer this opportunity.

Indians and Alaska Natives

We have a unique commitment to Native Americans; we pledge to continue to honor our trust relationship with them, and we reaffirm our federal Indian policy of self-determination without termination. This means moving smoothly and quickly away from federal domination to effective participation and communication by Indians in the political process and in the planning, content and administration of federal programs. We shall pursue our joint effort with Indian leaders to assist in the orderly development of Indian and native-owned resources and to continue to attack the severe health, education and unemployment problems which exist among Indians and Alaska Natives.

Puerto Rico, The District of Columbia and the Territories

The principle of self-determination also governs our positions on Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia as it has in past platforms. We again support statehood for Puerto Rico, if that is the people's choice in a referendum, with full recognition within the concept of a multicultural society of the citizens' right to retain their Spanish language and traditions; and support giving the District of Columbia voting representation in the United States Senate and House of Representatives and full home rule over those matters that are purely local.

We will continue to negotiate with the Congress of Micronesia on the future political status of the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands to meet the mutual interests of both parties. We support a plebiscite by the people of American Samoa on whether they wish to elect a territorial governor. We favor whatever action is necessary to permit American citizens resident in Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to vote for President and Vice President in national elections. With regard to Guam and the Virgin Islands, we urge an increased degree of self-sufficiency and support maximum broadening of self-government.


Finally, the most basic principle of all: Achievement and preservation of human rights in our society is based on the willing acceptance by millions of Americans of their responsibilities as free citizens. Instead of viewing government programs with ever increasing expectations, we must readily assume the obligations of wage-earners, taxpayers and supporters of our government and laws. This is often forgotten, and so it is appropriate to remind ourselves in this Platform that this is why our society works.

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