Last week, Missouri State Senator Jill Schupp introduced the Equal Rights Amendment into the state senate for ratification. Senator Schupp faces a tough battle in the Missouri State Senate after the Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz announced that he would oppose the legislation. Missouri’s Senate is composed of 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats and the legislation is currently in committee.
“Women have been publicly fighting for equality since 1868,” Schupp said; “We believe that once we have the 38th state in place, [the ERA} will move forward.”
Kamala Lopez, the executive director of Equal Means Equal documentary and the lead organizer of the National ERA Coalition was in Missouri last week advocating for the passage of the ERA. In response to opponents of the ERA, Lopez argued that “the ERA will not cause the sky to fall.” Lopez is calling for more education surrounding the ERA to assuage opponents’ fears and correct miseducation regarding the ERA.
Sherry Buchanan, a member of ERA 38, a group dedicated to making Missouri the 38th state, could not testify last week in front of the committee due to time restraints and the large number of people who showed up to testify in support of the ERA. Buchanan instead submitted her testimony in writing. She argued that “we take the gains of the past few decades for granted and do not seem to realize how easily they could be rescinded. Congress and legislatures could overturn some of the laws now in place or pass new laws that are discriminatory. Courts could render non-egalitarian rulings. Regulatory agencies could change rules. And funding could be used to keep women from having equal access and opportunity.”
Another ERA supporter, Carolyn McGowan, said that “there’s a lot more rights that women have now than we did when I was a little girl, but they aren’t guaranteed in the Constitution, and we can see how people can reverse things, easily, by executive order, even legislative for women’s rights, for everyone.”
In January, Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-Ca.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) hosted a press conference at the U.S. Capitol to announce the introduction of legislation in support of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). They were joined by activists and organizations spearheading the movement such as the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, the National Women’s Law Center, the ERA Coalition, Virginia General Assembly Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Price William), actors and activists Alyssa Milano and Patricia Arquette, and other members of Congress.
Because the 1982 deadline has been one of the biggest obstacles to the ERA, Rep. Speier plans to introduce a bill to Congress that will remove the 1982 deadline from the ERA bill. Speier mentions the statue of a woman called “Contemplation of Justice” which resides on the steps of the Supreme Court, and states women are tired of contemplating justice; “we want justice now.” Rep. Maloney introduced a separate bill to kick-start the ratification process again. Supporters of the ERA have waited long enough and continue to push forth effort in ratifying the ERA.
Media Resources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch 4/1/19; Four States Homepage 4/1/19; The Joplin Globe 4/3/19; Feminist Newswire 1/30/19