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Congresswoman Speier Introduces Resolution to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

February 1, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) on Tuesday introduced H.J. Res. 53, a joint resolution that will remove the deadline and finally allow for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) introduced companion legislation two weeks earlier. H.J. Res. 53 currently has 135 cosponsors.

“When asked, 96 percent of Americans think that women and men should have equal rights, and 88 percent believe that our Constitution should affirm those rights, while 72 percent of Americans mistakenly believe the Constitution already includes such a guarantee,” Rep. Speier said. “Given the current political climate, and the overwhelming support, it’s clear that the ERA is still a necessity. As the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia explained in a Supreme Court opinion, ‘Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.’”

In 1923, on the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, Alice Paul first announced the ERA. This amendment was introduced in every session of Congress from 1923, until it passed in 1972. Thirty-five states ratified the ERA before the deadline, falling just three states short of the number needed for passage. That is why Congresswoman Speier’s joint resolution follows the “three-state” approach to ratification of the ERA, which would strike the expired deadline and restart the “ratification clock” so that the amendment would become part of the Constitution after the needed three states are secured. Efforts to secure those states are already underway in Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia. Once ratified, the ERA would specify in an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.”

“Women, and men, in America are faced with a Congress and state legislators who are focused like a laser on attacking women’s health. We have a new Supreme Court Justice and, as such, many questions about issues of gender equality hanging in the balance. The President’s ongoing executive actions threatening to rollback back all of our hard-won rights, including his reinstatement and expansion of the Global Gag Rule on the day after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, make ratification of the ERA more important than ever,” Rep. Speier said.

H.R. Res 53 is endorsed by: 9 to 5, Alaska Women’s Network, Alice Paul Institute, American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Ethical Union, American Humanist Association (AHA), AHA Feminist Caucus, Business and Professional Women's Foundation (BPW), Arkansans 4 Immediate Passage of ERA, Center for Advancement of Public Policy (CAPP), Center for Women's Policy Studies, Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, Coalition for the ERA, Coalition of Labor Union Women, CT Permanente Commission on Women, ERA Action, ERAmerica, ERA Campaign Network, ERA Coalition, ERA Education Fund, Inc., ERA NOW, Equal Rights Advocates, Equal Rights Alliance, Equal Visibility Everywhere, Federally Employed Women, Feminist Majority, Gender Equality Solidarity Society, Girls Gotta Run Foundation, Girls Give Back, The Gray Panthers, Hadassah Women’s Zionist, Indian American Leadership Council, Katrina’s Dream, The Majority United, Missouri Women’s Network,  National Association of Social Workers, National Congress of Black Women, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of PR Women, National Council of Women of USA, National Council of Women's Organization- ERA Task Force, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Organization for Women (NOW), National Women's Law Center, National Women's Political Caucus, NWPC-Florida, NWPC-Missouri, NYPC-New Mexico, One Struggle One Fight, People Demanding Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Radical Women, Ratify ERA-NC, Responsible for Equality and Liberty, Ross Co.-OH, San Francisco Dept. on the Status of Women, School Girls Unite!, Secular Woman, Washington Office, United for Equality LLC, United Methodist Women, UniteWomen.org, US Women’s Chamber Commerce, VA (Arlington Co.) Commission for Women, VoteERA.org, We Are Woman, Women Rise Up Now, Women’s Campaign Fund, Women’s Democratic Club, Women’s Research and Education Institute, Women’s Suburban Dem. Club, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., Youth Activism Project, Inc., and YWCA.

You can read the full text of the joint resolution here.

 

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