Utah Republican Argues That Equal Pay Will Destroy Families & Society

Photo: Rich Barnes/Getty Images.
A Republican leader in Utah came under fire for arguing that equal pay would hurt American families.

James Green, vice chair of the Wasatch County Republican Party, wrote in a letter to the editor in the Park Record and the Wasatch Wave that the wage gap results from gender differences, not sexism.

"Traditionally men have earned more than women in the workplace because they are considered the primary breadwinners for families," he wrote. "They need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children."

In reality, lower work hours due to motherhood do not explain away the wage gap. An American Association Of University Women study found that after controlling for work hours — along with other potentially relevant factors like college major — women still earned 7% less than men.

Green doesn't just believe the wage gap is acceptable. He thinks equal pay would be a problem since it could cause men to make less money and have more trouble finding work. In fact, it was the proposal of Senate Bill 210, a law aimed at making state companies' salaries more transparent and standardized, that inspired the letter, The Washington Post reports.

"If businesses are forced to pay women the same as male earnings, that means they will have to reduce the pay for the men they employ, simple economics. If that happens, then men will have an even more difficult time earning enough to support their families, which will mean more Mothers will be forced to leave the home (where they may prefer to be) to join the workforce to make up the difference," he wrote.

"And as even more women thus enter the workforce that creates more competition for jobs (even men’s jobs) and puts further downward pressure on the pay for all jobs, meaning more and more Mothers will be forced into the workforce. And that is bad for families and thus for all of society. It’s a vicious cycle that only gets worse the more equality of pay is forced upon us. It’s a situation of well-meaning intentions, but negative unintended consequences."

The letter sparked opposition from women's rights advocates and from Utah Rep. Tim Quinn, who said in a statement to KSTU, "I am shocked and appalled to learn how James Green feels about equal pay for women. I don’t know where this belief came from. I do not subscribe publicly or privately to the words or the spirit behind these words, thoughts or ideas. Of course, the Wasatch County Republican Party and I are for equal pay and rights for all people."

Green has since resigned and issued an apology. "The main focus of my letter was to express that I don’t feel the government should be dictating to private establishments what they must do in regard to employment, hiring, or wages," he said in a letter emailed to KSTU.

"Of course, Women’s contributions in the workplace are just as valuable as any one else’s," he continued. "I was merely pointing out the historical reasons for pay disparity and the challenges of overcoming that. While I worked my fingers to the bone (with numerous extra side jobs) so my Wife could stay in the home and raise our two Sons, who are now both Physician/Surgeons (plus one also has a Law Degree), I realize not everyone is so fortunate."
Advertisement

More from US News