ST. LOUIS, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Phyllis Schlafly, conservative crusader and leader of the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, died Monday in St. Louis. She was 92.
The death of the self-described Catholic housewife was announced by the Eagle Forum, a conservative organization she founded in 1975 after 20 years of opposition to communism, abortion and later, the ERA.
Her book, Conscience of a Conservative, written in 1960 and originally self-published, sold 3 million copies and gave support to Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., in his pursuit of the 1964 Republican presidential nomination. Although he lost the election, his candidacy led the right-wing ferment within the party which led to the prominence of Ronald Reagan.
She was famed for her capability to initiate grassroots campaigns in favor of what she regarded as traditional family values. Opponents cited her marriage to John Fred Schlafly Jr., a wealthy Illinois lawyer who died in 1993, as the reason she had opportunity to inveigh against liberal and feminist causes.
"Schlafly had discovered a genuine populist sentiment in a large female population that opposed the ERA, feminism and modern liberalism with the same intensity of emotion that feminists brought to their cause," author Donald T. Critchlow wrote in a 2005 biography.
Schlafly received a law degree in 1978, and raised six children. Her son, John, received attention in 1992 when it was revealed he was gay. It did not change her opinion of gay rights, though. In 2010 she said of gay couples, "Nobody's stopping them from shacking up. The problem is that they are trying to make us respect them, and that's an interference with what we believe."
She wrote 27 books and had tens of thousands of speaking engagements in her long campaign, the Eagle Forum said Monday. She is survived by her six children, 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.