The Equal Rights Amendment In 2018
Back in May, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA.
It could now, conceivably, become part of the Constitution if just one more state ratifies it — either Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah or Virginia.
But what, exactly, is the ERA promising?
Section 1 Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2 The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3 This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
But you might be wondering: didn’t the ERA die back in the ’80s? Wasn’t there a deadline, or something? (There was.)
From The New York Times:
Congress, which overwhelmingly approved the Equal Rights Amendment on March 22, 1972, set a seven-year deadline for three-quarters of the states to ratify it. The deadline was later extended to 1982 but that deadline passed with only 35 states on board. They needed 38.
But after advocates saw the 1992 ratification of the 27th Amendment, written by former president James Madison, they questioned the need for a deadline and pursued a different legal strategy.
Opponents, like conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, criticized the amendment. Some of the arguments against it were detailed in these scenes of Aaron Sorkin’s show The West Wing.
What’s the path forward for the ERA? What chance does it have to pass? And should it? Or are there better ways to work towards gender equality?
Produced by Amanda Williams. Text by Gabrielle Healy.
Michele Gilman, Professor of law; director of Clinical Programs; co-director of the Center on Applied Feminism, University of Baltimore.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Representative for the 12th District of New York; co-sponsor of H.J. Res. 33, a bill to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution; @RepMaloney.
Anne Schlafly Cori, Chairman of Eagle Forum; @EagleForum
Carol Robles-Román, Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality; former deputy mayor for legal affairs and counsel to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg; former New York state assistant attorney general for civil rights; @CRoblesRoman
Delegate Hala Ayala, Representative for Virginia’s 51st District, Virginia House of Delegates.
For more, visit https://the1a.org.
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