EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDENT (complete text)
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.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for women. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress and went to the state legislatures for ratification. The ERA failed to receive the requisite number of ratifications (38) before the final deadline mandated by Congress of June 30, 1982, and so it was not adopted. A major factor in the amendment’s defeat was Phyllis Schlafly, who mobilized conservatives to oppose the ERA.
Click for a 5-minute DVD – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dyWVGyn8Bs&feature=player_embedded
Ratified the federal ERA (required 38 states for ratification)
The ERA was introduced into every Congress between 1923 and 1972, when it was passed and sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit in the ERA’s proposing clause was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, the ERA had been ratified by 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution.
Three-state strategy for passing the Equal Rights Amendment
The three-state strategy is an argument made by some ERA supporters that the earlier 35 state ratifications are still valid and therefore only three more are needed in order to add the ERA to the Constitution, without Congress resubmitting it to state lawmakers. Since 1994, proponents of the three-state strategy have promoted ratification resolutions in the legislatures of most of the 15 states that never ratified the ERA approved by Congress in 1972. These attempts have met stiff resistance—some opponents characterize the measures as “resurrection resolutions”—and no legislature has approved one.
The three-state strategy was publicly unveiled at a press conference held in Washington, D.C., in December 1993. According to an Associated Press report, “a coalition of women’s groups,” operating under the name “ERA Summit,” planned “to ask Congress to nullify 1982 deadline for ratification.” Early the following year, Representative Robert E. Andrews, Democrat from New Jersey, introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to require that “when the legislatures of an additional three states ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, the House of Representatives shall take any legislative action necessary to verify the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as a part of the Constitution.” No action was taken on the resolution.
In 1996, the Library of Congress‘s Congressional Research Service issued a report that said, “There is no precedent for Congress promulgating an amendment based on state ratifications adopted after a ratification deadline has expired. However, proponents of this course cite as possible precedent the ratification activity of the states regarding the 27th Amendment… proponents of the ERA might wish to adopt a strategy of urging its ratification by state legislatures because their actions might prompt this or a future Congress to proclaim the amendment had been ratified.” CRS stressed that it “takes no position on any of the issues.”
On May 21, 2003, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
On June 21, 2009, the National Organization for Women resolved to support both the three-state strategy and any strategy to submit a new ERA to the states for ratification.
On July 7, 2009, at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol to announce the reintroduction of the ERA in Congress, activists supporting the three-state strategy distributed a flyer opposing reintroduction, saying “this is not the time to start over and ignore the work ERA advocates have already done.”
Opponents of the three-state strategy point out that the 1789 resolution proposing what is now the Twenty-seventh Amendment did not contain a deadline for ratification. This amendment was ratified in 1992, more than 202 years after Congress submitted it to the states for ratification.
On February 7, 2011, the Senate of Virginia approved Senate Joint Resolution No. 357 to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. However, a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates killed the joint resolution.
On February 14, 2012, the Senate of Virginia again approved Senate Joint Resolution No. 130 to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Just like in 2011, the joint resolution died in a House of Delegates committee.
The Equal Rights Amendment: Unfinished Business for the Constitution
This 17-minute educational DVD (5-minute excerpt below) traces the expansion of women’s rights in the United States from the writing of the Constitution to the 72-year struggle for woman suffrage to the ongoing campaign for the ERA. (purchase) Click for the 5-minute excerpt – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dyWVGyn8Bs&feature=player_embedded
Below are two articles which bear on the legal questions associated with the three-state strategy:
- Summary of “The Equal Rights Amendment: Why the ERA Remains Legally Viable and Properly Before the States”
- Library of Congress analyzes three-state strategy in “Equal Rights Amendment: Ratification Issues”
See also the following for more information
- Links to more resources, http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/links.htm
- History of women in the United States, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_women_in_the_United_States
- List of proposed amendments to the United States Constitution, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_proposed_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution
- Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
- Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
- National Woman’s Party, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Woman%27s_Party
- Alice Paul, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Paul
- Martha Griffiths, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Griffiths
- Equal pay for women, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_pay_for_women
- History of feminism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_feminism
- First-wave feminism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-wave_feminism
- Second-wave feminism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-wave_feminism
- Women’s suffrage in the United States, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_States
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Elimination_of_All_Forms_of_Discrimination_Against_Women