The ERA is back! Wait, what?
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Remember the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)? The poorly written, yet inspiring, 27th constitutional amendment that has been missing in action since circa 1982? Well, it’s back. The Nevada Legislature ratified it just a few days ago, only 35 years after the congressional deadline for passage.
In case you haven’t thought about the ERA in the past three decades–honestly, we haven’t either–the Act in its current form was passed by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives on March 22, 1972. The next step was ratification by the required 38 states with the standard seven-year deadline set for previous amendments.
Twenty-two states ratified the ERA in the first year. Then the pace slowed as the backlash began and people like Phyllis Shlafly began speaking out against the amendment. To refresh your nightmares memories, the naysayers argued that the ERA would deny a woman’s “right” to be supported by her husband, that private rights would be overturned, women would be sent into combat, everyone would have an abortion, blah, blah, blah.
Nonetheless, in 1978, Congress extended the ratification deadline until June 30, 1982. But…Ronald Reagan was elected president and the ERA was still missing three states. However, the ERA was reintroduced in Congress in 1982 and has been reintroduced every year since then. At present, the amendment would need to be passed by two-thirds of each house of Congress and ratified by 38 states, with no deadline.
Enter Nevada. While Republican’s in Nevada’s Democrat-controlled legislature raised the same arguments raised decades previously, along with some new ones about how the ladies already have equality, the amendment was approved. The 36th state! Yaaaay!?!?
People, we only need two more states. The 15 that have not yet ratified the ERA are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. Get with it, states. Let’s make America great again!