More than 40 years after it failed to be ratified and 100 years after it was first introduced, progressive Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) are looking to bring new life to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Touting bipartisan support with the aid of RINO Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the lawmakers issued a news release that they would be forming a new House caucus toward the adoption of the amendment.
With a press conference scheduled for Tuesday, The Hill reported, Bush and Pressley announced, “Exactly 100 years after the ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923, the launch of this caucus serves to commemorate the centennial of the struggle for constitutional gender equality.”
First proposed in 1923, the ERA passed through Congress to begin the ratification process on March 22, 1972, and was ratified by 30 of the required 38 states for passage within the first year. However, by the seven year cutoff, the amendment was still short and even after an extension was passed, it had only garnered support in 35 states by 1982.
Since then, the amendment has been repeatedly reintroduced to Congress, and between 2017 and 2020 Nevada, Illinois and Virginia made a show of ratifying the amendment despite there being no legal basis for the action.
Sunday on Twitter, Pressley wrote, “It’s long overdue that we enshrine the equality & humanity of women and LGBTQ+ folks into our Constitution. Congress must ratify the #EqualRightsAmendment.”
It’s long overdue that we enshrine the equality & humanity of women and LGBTQ+ folks into our Constitution.
Congress must ratify the #EqualRightsAmendment. https://t.co/jDlu4QiP51
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) March 26, 2023
The effort being led by the two congresswomen is set to include a number of speeches on the House floor Monday from members of the Congressional Black Caucus and then, Tuesday, Bush is expected to engage in “civil disobedience action” in front of the National Archives Museum with the group Generation Ratify which bills itself as a youth-led movement aiming to advance gender justice.
As mentioned earlier, Murkowski has supported efforts toward ratification of the ERA and had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year promoting a resolution that would “remove the arbitrary deadline” imposed by Congress prior to the proposal of the amendment.
“Things have improved over the years, but we still have a long way to go when it comes to achieving equality for women,” Murkowski said. “And I think we need the Equal Rights Amendment to get there. I’m proud of the fact that my state–Alaska–ratified the ERA in 1972, the same year it passed the House and Senate and was signed by President Carter.”
A leading argument against making the ERA the 28th Amendment is that, as written “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” has led many to suggest it would obligate women to register with the Selective Service System at 18 just like men, therefore making them eligible for conscription were a military draft imposed.
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