Members of Congress Renew the Fight for the Equal Rights Amendment

Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) re-introduced the Equal Rights Amendment yesterday in a bipartisan effort to put women in the United States Constitution.

via JT Johnson
via JT Johnson

A bipartisan coalition of 170 cosponsors have signed on to this bill, including representatives Maloney, Lummis, Congresswoman Speier (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and many more. This motion comes alongside a resolution also introduced this week by Speier in support of the ERA.

“More than 90 percent of Americans believe the constitution should guarantee rights equally for men and women,” said Representative Maloney in a statement. “It’s time to secure that promise by passing the Equal Rights Amendment.”

“I am very enthusiastic about the new wording of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s re-introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment which would put the word women in the constitution for the first time while protecting everyone from discrimination based on sex,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority. “Everyone deserves to live a life free from the pernicious effects of sex discrimination.”

Congresswoman Speier also introduced yesterday a joint resolution with 146 cosponsors this week to remove the deadline previously set by congress and allow for ratification of the ERA through a “three-state strategy.” If the deadline were lifted, only three more states would need to ratify the amendment.

Speier called the lack of constitutionally-protected equality for women “a twenty-first century scandal.” She wrote that the majority of Americans do not realize that such a provision does not already exist, “and they’re appalled to hear it doesn’t. Without explicit protections for women’s equality in the Constitution, we will continue to see discrimination against women. With all the progress women have made, it’s long past time for a permanent standard ensuring all women and men are equal under the law.”

“I believe strongly that we only need three more states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment,” said Smeal, who also spoke of the 27th Amendment, which took a record 203 years between being introduced and being ratified. “If no time limit was acceptable for an amendment by one of the Founding Fathers, it should be good for the women of America today.”

35 states currently have a state-wide ERA on the book, with Oregon being the most recent to ratify a state ERA by a near 2-to-1 margin in November 2014. The Illinois House passed an ERA, but it was rejected at the state Senate in 2003. Recently, efforts for a state ERA in Illinois have renewed.

As Gaylynn Burroughs, the Director of Policy and Research of the Feminist Majority Foundation, explained in the Winter 2015 issue of Ms. magazine, the need for the ERA has only increased since 1972. “Women have made numerous gains over the past four decades from Title IX to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to pay equity to the Violence Against Women Act and much more,” Burroughs wrote. “But all the federal legislative gains are just that – legislative. They can be wiped out by a hostile Congress or Supreme Court, or chipped away slowly and insidiously.” Burroughs cites last year’s Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision as one example of recent rollbacks.

Take Action: Urge members of Congress to support the ERA by becoming co-sponsors of both the Start-Over ERA and the resolution to lift the time limit on the current ERA.

Media Resources: Speier.House.Gov 5/14/15; Feminist Newswire 11/5/14; 7/1/14; MsMagazine.com

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