THE EQUAL RIGHTS
The text of the Equal Rights Amendment, as passed by Congress and ratified by state legislatures, states:
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.
Why do we need the Equal Rights Amendment?
Legal discrimination on the basis of sex is not a concept of the past. Furthermore, the progress of the past 60 years is not irreversible. Here are a few of the things the Equal Rights Amendment will do once adopted:
The ERA would provide a clear judicial standard for deciding cases of sex discrimination. The equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment was first applied to sex discrimination only in 1971, and it has never been interpreted to grant equal rights on the basis of sex in the uniform and inclusive way that the ERA would.
The ERA will work to combat inequities seen in education. We live in a country where girls and LGBTQIA+ youth's access to a meaningful education remains hindered, including by sexual harassment and sexual assault, archaic gender-based stereotypes, and even the inability to access necessary menstrual hygiene products.
The ERA would provide a strong legal defense against a rollback of the significant advances in women's rights that have been achieved since the mid–20th century. Legislation such as Title IX , Violence Against Women Act, the Fair Pensions Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, pieces of legislation that would work to achieve social, political, and economic equality for all genders, have been opposed and even attempted to be overturned.
The Equal Rights Amendment benefits people of all genders, including men. For example, the addition of the ERA to our Constitution will guarantee that men will be equal with women in all areas of family law.
The Equal Rights Amendment will expand protections for members of the LGBTQIA+ Community. The Equal Rights Amendment will protect people of all genders, including people beyond the binary and people who are transgender. In addition, federal circuit court decisions (Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana and Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc.) have already concluded that sexual orientation discrimination is also a subset of sex discrimination.
The Equal Rights Amendment will strengthen our economy. Working towards closing the gender wage gap and achieving equal representation in boardrooms, the Equal Rights Amendment will benefit us all, making women, people beyond the binary, and our economy, stronger.
What is the current status of the ERA?
Across the country, all eyes were on Virginia when it came to the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. In November, Virginians made history when they flipped their House and Senate to a gender equality sense majority — the first time in more than 40 years. Those elected officials made landmark progress in delivering the will of the 80% of Virginians that wanted constitutionalized gender equality when they became the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 2020.
The Equal Rights Amendment has fulfilled all requirements outlined in Article V of the Constitution, including passing out of Congress with a 2/3 majority and ratification by 38 (3/4) of states; however, Congress placed a deadline of 1982 on the ratification of the amendment. The only thing standing in the way of Constitutional gender equality is this deadline.
On January 21, 2021, resolutions to remove the deadline on the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment were introduced by Representative Speier and Representative Reed in the house (see resolution here) and Senator Cardin and Senator Murkowski in the Senate (see bill here). We must mobilize and organize around these bills. See action items at the top of this page.
Additionally, there is a court case, Commonwealth of Virginia, State of Illinois, and State of Nevada, V. David S. Ferriero, in his official capacity as Archivist of the United States, that is fighting to eliminate the deadline on the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Learn more about the case and the amicus brief we filed here!