"WOMAN'S RIGHTS" IN TEXAS
New York Times:
To the Editor of The New York Times:
It appears that in a communication in
the Sunday issue of The New York
Times of some days back, Ethel M.
Smith, in writing of the proposed equal
rights amendment to the Federal Constitution, mentions that the State of
Texas denies to a married woman the
control of her own earnings; while in
a subsequent issue of The Times of
Jan. 22, it appears that Paul Caruthers Morris of your city, in a communica-
tion, says Miss Smith is in error in the above statement as to the laws of the State of Texas, and kindly takes her to task with the suggestion that her sisters should look up her charges before taking them seriously. And in that connection he essays to set her aright with the further statement, as the truth of the matter, that Texas, along with certain other States named by him, is a community property State, and that under the laws of that State the wife's earnings belong in half to her husband, and cites in support of his statement a Law Directory published in your city.
As an old practioner down in this far-off State, I beg to submit to Mr. Morris that he in turn is in error, due possibly to his like failure to "look up the law" further on the point--though he seems to be only half right as to the same. Yes, Texas is, and from the beginning may be classed as a community property State, but of late years it has become something more is response to the demands of modern woman for her "rights," and though somewhat cumbrous in dimensions has "got a move" on her in response to such demands; as under recent enactments of it Legistatures,
which have "finally
"seen the light," all of the earnings of
the wife belong to her, is subject to her
exclusive control, and to do with as she
pleases. She is also given like control
of all her other separate property and
to dispose of as may suit her whim and
without any interference on the part of
her husband; save that the joinder of
her husband is necessary in a convey-
ance or encumbrance by her of her real estate; and in the latter instance if her spouse balks she may go to court and procure such conveyance without his joinder therein, (See Acts of Texas Legislature of 1917, p. 436, and of 1921, p. 251).
Moreover, while the wife by these en-
actments has absolute control over her
earnings, to cast them at the birds, or
to the milliners, as suits her whim, a subservient Legislature, by further enactment, has provided that in the event of the failure or refusal of the husband
to provide for the proper support and
maintenance of the wife, or if he "runs
away" to avoid the discharge of the duty, he
may be brought back and be put in jail or be put to penal servitude until he signifies a willingness to discharge his marital duty.
Hence, it may be a little difficult to
conceive what further rights the for-
ward looking women of the Lone Star
State may crave, unless possibly the prerogative of possessing more than one
husband at one and the same time, and
with the privilege of driving them in
tandem or in pairs as may suit their pleasure.
F.M. BRANTLEY Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 29, 1924.
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