McCain doesn't oppose equal pay for women. Rather, he (and other Republicans) are opposing a proposed law that offers a longer time for the filing of pay discrimination suits based on gender -- in other words, legislation that's more about helping out the plaintiff's bar than it is about remedying sex discrimination.
Pay discrimination is already addressed by the 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act. Wage discrimination based on sex is likewise prohibited by the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Obviously, Senator McCain opposed none of them . . . because he was a naval aviator at the time of the latter two's passage, and when the 1972 bill became law -- well, suffice it to say that he was "tied up at the time" in the Hanoi Hilton.
Suggesting that opponents of this bill are opposing equal pay is like insisting that the Equal Rights Amendment is necessary to redress pregnancy discrimination, despite the existence of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978; and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. It's just not so. Everyone knows that the ERA had an agenda far beyond protecting pregnant women; this bill has an agenda that far exceeds redressing gender-based wage discrimination.
[Oh, and for those curious about the extent of such discrimination in America, the myth of the male-female 24-cent "pay gap" is thoroughly debunked by the facts set out by the National Center for Policy Analysis and expert Diana Furchtgott-Roth.]
Juliet Eilperin, the reporter who entered the linked piece above on the Post's blog, is a fine journalist and a long-ago colleague of mine on The Daily Princetonian. No doubt the confusion engendered by her headline charging McCain with opposition to equal pay is inadvertent, but it's real -- and it should be corrected.