Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, unveiled a resolution recognizing that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has met all legal requirements to be recognized as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.  As of today, the ERA will guarantee long-sought constitutional protections against sex discrimination, and further empower Congress to enact legislation advancing gender equity. The resolution marks the two-year anniversary of Virginia’s ratification of the ERA, the date the ERA is slated to go into effect. The resolution is cosponsored by 133 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We’ve ratified the ERA; now it’s time to enshrine it in our Constitution. Women in America have continued to be victims of insidious discrimination and the Constitution has been an apologist for the bad behavior. When 85 percent of United Nations member countries have placed the ERA in their constitutions, it’s more than time that we do the same,” said Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “Until the ERA is recognized, we will not be able to address the gender wage gap, pregnancy discrimination, persistent and disturbing violations of the rights of survivors, and more. My congressional colleagues and I urge the DOJ to rescind its legally flawed and partisan memo seeking to block the ERA and urge the Archivist – acting under a new Administration dedicated to advancing equality and equity for all Americans – to certify the ERA and finally recognize women’s equality under the law.”

“During my time in Congress I have fought to secure equality under the law for women and people of all marginalized genders. The Equal Rights Amendment has been nearly one hundred years in the making and would ensure that all people who face discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual violence, workplace harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and unequal pay are finally given full and equal standing under the law.  With this resolution, the House of Representatives reaffirms what we already know to be true: the Equal Rights Amendment is the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” said Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

Although Article V of the Constitution contains no time limit for ratifying amendments, when Congress passed the ERA in 1972, it included a non-binding 7-year ratification time limit in the preamble of the joint resolution.  This time limit was later extended for an additional three years, and by 1982, 35 out of the required 38 states had voted to ratify the amendment.  Because the time limit was included in the preamble, not the Amendment ratified by the states, it must be understood to be non-binding.

On January 27, 2020, the ERA met the final legal requirement for ratification under Article V when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. Section 3 of the ERA states that it shall go into effect two years after ratification. Today’s two-year anniversary of Virginia’s vote for ratification marks the date that the ERA is to be adopted as the law of the land. 

Yesterday, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion calling into question but failing to rescind its January 2020 opinion seeking to block the ERA.

This resolution is supported by numerous women’s and equal rights organizations who have long championed action to ensure adoption of the ERA. Quotes from organizations are listed below:

“The ERA Coalition is proud to support the new resolution affirming that the Equal Rights Amendment is the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney. January 27, 2022 marks the end of the two-year waiting period for the ERA to go into effect across the country, laying the groundwork for a more equal future," said Carol Jenkins, President and CEO of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women's Equality.” We thank Congresswoman Speier and Chairwoman Maloney for their steadfast leadership as we celebrate the importance of today, after nearly 100 years of fighting, to see sex equality finally included in the U.S. Constitution.”

“Finally nearly 100 years after it was first proposed and 50 years after being approved by Congress, the ERA is not only ratified by required three-fourths of the states, it has completed its two-year waiting period and is taking effect.  The ERA is relevant, has very strong popular support and is needed more than ever,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority and activist for the ERA for more than 50 years.

“It’s been two years since the Equal Rights Amendment was ratified by its 38th state, and it remains a critical component of our fight for gender justice for all. While we await a ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the ERA is now part of the Constitution, this resolution from Chairman Maloney and Representative Speier is a clarion call for lawmakers nationwide to continue the hard work of implementing policies that fight for equal rights for all people regardless of gender. Doing so would bring us that much closer to equality before the law for all people of all genders, opening a new chapter for women and girls nationwide,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

“Far too often, our society undervalues women’s worth, work, and contributions. These inequities are magnified for women of color, those who identify as LGBTQ, and women who are disabled, all of whom confront multiple forms of bias. We are encouraged by Rep. Speier and Chair Maloney’s continued push to elevate the constitutional necessity and importance of the Equal Rights Amendment in securing real equality for all women.  Their leadership is crucial to making the promise of equality a reality for all women across the country,” said Jocelyn Frye, President, National Partnership for Women & Families.

“For over 160 years, YWCAs have been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements – from voting rights to civil rights, affordable housing to pay equity, violence prevention to ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment," said YWCA USA CEO Margaret Mitchell. “YWCA USA applauds the introduction of a resolution confirming the ratification of the ERA. We urge Members to swiftly pass the Resolution and - once and for all - confirm in the U.S. Constitution that equality of rights shall not be denied or abridged on the account of sex.”

“The research is clear: our efforts to end sexual violence are inextricably linked to women's equality. The Equal Rights Amendment is imperative and long overdue,” said Terri Poore, Policy Director of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

“Today's congressional action takes us one step closer to enshrining the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Domestic violence is an intentional pattern of behavior to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Survivors will be better able to secure justice when all partners in a relationship are considered equal in our foundational documents and in the eyes of the law,” said Deborah J. Vagins, President & CEO, National Network to End Domestic Violence  

A copy of the resolution is attached to this press release.

 

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