UPDATE (03/17/21): The House has passed H.J. Resolution 17 with a 222-204 vote. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), first introduced in 1923, is a proposed constitutional amendment that prohibits denying or limiting equality of rights under the law based on sex. Unlike many other nations’ constitutions, the US Constitution does not specifically guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex. The ERA would finally enshrine protections against sex discrimination in our Constitution, an important safeguard against recent congressional attempts to reverse legislative prohibitions on sex discrimination. The ERA would also require courts to apply strict scrutiny when assessing policies that allow for differential treatment based on sex.
When Congress approved the ERA in 1972, only 35 of the required 38 states ratified it by the 1982 deadline, and the ERA failed to pass. However, nearly 50 years later, momentum is now on our side with Virginia becoming the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in January of 2020.
In order to finally begin the process of adding the ERA to the Constitution, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) has introduced a resolution, [H.J. Res. 17] (https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-joint-resolution/17) that would remove the deadline for the ratification of the ERA and declare that women have equal rights in the United States.
Now is the time to establish landmark constitutional protections against sex discrimination. Demand your representative support the extension deadline for the ERA.
Note: We uses the term “sex discrimination” throughout this issue brief to match the language in the ERA’s text. This term is intended to be synonymous with other terms, such as “sex-based discrimination,” “gender discrimination,” or “gender-based discrimination,” all of which are intended herein to be comprehensive and inclusive beyond discrimination based solely upon sex assigned at birth to include discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. The ERA would protect individuals against discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, the same way that federal statutes such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 do.