Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, released the following statement in light of the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate votes to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Later this week, after the chambers vote to ratify each other’s bills, Virginia will become the final 38th state needed to ratify the ERA to the Constitution.
“Today we stand on the shoulders of giants who for generations fought for an Equal Rights Amendment that affirms women’s equality and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex,” Rep. Jackie Speier said. “Virginia’s historic vote to be the crucial 38th state needed to ratify the ERA proves there is no expiration date on equality, and this issue is just as salient as ever. For survivors of sexual violence, pregnancy discrimination, unequal pay, and more, the fight for equal justice under the law can’t wait any longer. The Archivist must act swiftly to certify the ERA and Congress must pass my bill to eliminate any legal ambiguities by striking the deadline for ratification.”
When Congress passed the ERA in 1972, it attached an arbitrary seven-year ratification deadline to the preamble which was later extended three more years. By 1982, 35 states out of the required 38 states voted to ratify the amendment. In the past three years, grassroots campaigns have successfully secured ratification votes in Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia.
Rep. Speier is the sponsor of H.J.Res.79 to remove the deadline to ratify the ERA, paving the way forward for expeditious ratification of the amendment. Her bill is cosponsored by 224 bipartisan Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a companion joint resolution in the U.S. Senate that also removes the deadline to ratify the ERA.