Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh Dies At 91

Mar 14, 2019

Then-Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN) runs with a group of Purdue University students in the 1970s. Bayh was the author of Title IX, which gave parity to women in sports.
Credit Birch Bayh Senate Office - Senatorial Papers of Birch Bayh, Indiana University

Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, who authored two amendments to the U.S. Constitution, has died.

Bayh was the author of the landmark Title IX legislation, which leveled the playing field for women in sports and created penalties for gender-based discrimination in education.

Bayh was the Senate sponsor of the never-passed Equal Rights Amendment, but did succeed in adding the 25th and 26th Amendments to the Constitution, which created succession procedures in the event of presidential incapacitation and lowered the voting age to 18.

Speaking to Indiana Public Broadcasting in 2011, Bayh cited the voting amendment as one of his proudest accomplishments.

“I mean I felt young people when they get to be 21, many of them are married, most all of them have jobs, they’re paying taxes, they are fulfilling all of the responsibilities of citizenship and they should have the right to vote,” he said.

Bayh was also present at other notable historic events. He pulled then-Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy from a burning plane in 1964, just after both had voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act.

And he briefly ran for president in 1976, but lost the Democratic nomination to eventual winner Jimmy Carter.

Bayh was unsuccessful in his bid to eliminate the Electoral College, but – after losing re-election in 1980 to Dan Quayle -- saw his son Evan become both a senator and a governor of their home state.

Birch Bayh was 91 years old.