“That women register, and perhaps be called up in the event of a draft, is a necessary prerequisite for their achieving equality as citizens, as it has been for other groups historically discriminated against in American history,” the commission concluded. “Reluctance to extend the registration requirement to women may be in part a consequence of gender stereotypes about the proper role for women and their need for special protection.”
There is indeed a compelling moral and legal case for women and men to be treated equally under the law when it comes to military obligations. Which is why I, like The Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin and most libertarians I’m aware of, prefer the equality of no military obligations whatsoever…
The most common rejoinder to registration refuseniks is that, c’mon, it’s just a piece of paper; no one’s going to jail for not signing up, and most importantly no one’s getting drafted (Congress would have to pass additional legislation for that, after all). To which I would respond, 1) if you don’t sign that paper, goodbye college loans and probably also your driver’s license; and 2) the state does not share your no-one’s-getting-drafted confidence, at all.
Let’s look at some more of the commission’s verbiage, shall we?