After 100 years of campaigning, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is getting another push to pass it through Congress.
In a joint resolution on Tuesday, Senate and House Democrats announced their commitment to passing the Equal Rights Amendment.
The amendment would give states and Congress power to ensure that, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
“I am truly overjoyed to stand shoulder to shoulder with these women who know how to get things done and some good men as well as we introduce transformative legislation to move us closer to finally codifying gender equality in the United States Constitution,” said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).
Pressley is a member of “The Squad,” a group of left-wing progressive Congress members.
The ERA has a complex history. The most recent attempt started in 1972 when Congress offered the amendment to the states.
But the amendment had a deadline in 1982. If the ERA missed this deadline, the states would have to try the whole amendment process again, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
“The second proposed amendment to have failed of ratification is the Equal Rights Amendment, which formally died on June 30, 1982,” a CRS paper reads.
But after the deadline, states ratified the amendment.
Now, Reps. Pressley, Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Ca.), and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) argue the deadline didn’t mean anything because it was “arbitrary.”
According to Sen. Ben Cardin (D.-Md.), the 27th Amendment passed about 200 years after its proposal.
“The Constitution imposes no time limit on the ratification of amendments. The 27th Amendment, the last to be approved, was debated for two centuries,” he said.
Durbin’s office told the Epoch Times he wanted Republicans to join in the push to pass the amendment.
“It is long past time to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sex in our Constitution. It would send an important and overdue message to women and girls that they are equal under the law,” Durbin said. “Let’s come together on a bipartisan basis, repeal this deadline, and finally make the Equal Rights Amendment the law of the land by passing this joint resolution.”
According to research by the Heritage Foundation, judicial interpretations of the 14th Amendment effectively offer women the same protections the ERA would offer: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
“Legislatures and courts were fulfilling the ERA’s promise without the ERA,” a Heritage report reads.
Politicians spangled the meeting for the resolution with buzzwords like “equity,” “inclusion,” “minority,” and “queer.”
The representatives said the ERA would help with issues including women earning less than men, discrimination against women, sexism, pregnancy-related discrimination, access to abortion, sexual assault, and murder of minority women.
“Each week that goes by without the ERA is a week where we allow—we, Congress—we allow injustice and inequity to thrive and to continue to impact and harm women and communities across this country.”
Hawaii’s Sen. Hirono said the ERA might have prevented the end of Roe v. Wade.
“I agree with the scholars who say that if the ERA had been in effect, perhaps the Supreme Court would have had to pause before doing away with protections under Roe because they would be discriminating against pretty much a gender-specific medical procedure that impacts one gender,” she said.
Pressley added that the amendment would somehow improve “protection for LGBTQ folks.” However, she didn’t say precisely what form this improvement might take.
“Our resolution will address centuries of gender discrimination in America by removing the unnecessary barriers that have prevented us from enshrining the dignity, the humanity, and equality of women into our United States Constitution,” Pressley stated.