House Dems Introduce Resolution To Ratify Equal Rights Amendment

On Thursday, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, unveiled a resolution recognizing that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has met all legal requirements to be recognized as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

Although Article V of the Constitution contains no time limit for ratifying amendments, when Congress passed the ERA in 1972, it included a non-binding 7-year ratification time limit in the preamble of the joint resolution.

This time limit was later extended for an additional three years, and by 1982, 35 out of the required 38 states had voted to ratify the amendment. Because the time limit was included in the preamble, not the Amendment ratified by the states, it must be understood to be non-binding.

On January 27, 2020, the ERA met the final legal requirement for ratification under Article V when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. Section 3 of the ERA states that it shall go into effect two years after ratification. Thursday’s two-year anniversary of Virginia’s vote for ratification marks the date that the ERA is to be adopted as the law of the land.

Yesterday, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion calling into question but failing to rescind its January 2020 opinion seeking to block the ERA.

“We’ve ratified the ERA; now it’s time to enshrine it in our Constitution. Women in America have continued to be victims of insidious discrimination and the Constitution has been an apologist for the bad behavior. When 85 percent of United Nations member countries have placed the ERA in their constitutions, it’s more than time that we do the same,” said Congresswoman Speier.

“Until the ERA is recognized, we will not be able to address the gender wage gap, pregnancy discrimination, persistent and disturbing violations of the rights of survivors, and more. My congressional colleagues and I urge the DOJ to rescind its legally flawed and partisan memo seeking to block the ERA and urge the Archivist – acting under a new Administration dedicated to advancing equality and equity for all Americans – to certify the ERA and finally recognize women’s equality under the law.”

President Joe Biden released a statement Thursday endorsing the resolution.

“Today, as the House announces a resolution on the Equal Rights Amendment, I once again want to express my support for the ERA loudly and clearly,” he said. “I have been a strong supporter of the ERA ever since I first ran for the Senate as a 29-year-old. We must recognize the clear will of the American people and definitively enshrine the principle of gender equality in the Constitution. It is long past time that we put all doubt to rest.”

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