The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) should not be confused with the Equality Act, which I wrote about in a past article. Both, to an extent, have similar intent. However, the Equality Act would have catastrophic consequences, and if Democrats have their way, so too would the ERA. For our purposes here let’s concentrate on the ERA. The purpose of the ERA was to extend and guarantee equal rights to all Americans regardless of sex, and to end any legal distinctions in various matters, and specifically employment, divorce, and property. The ERA had both its proponents and opponents.
On March 22, 1972, the Congress, with majorities in both Houses, passed the ERA. It also established a deadline date for the states of March 22, 1979. For it to become law, and be adopted as an amendment to the Constitution, it required ratification by 38 states, but by January 18, 1977, only 35 had ratified.
The states were as follows, in chronological order of when each ratified beginning on March 22, 1972, through January 18, 1977: Hawaii, New Hampshire, Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, Alaska, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Colorado, West Virginia, Wisconsin, New York, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, California, Wyoming, South Dakota, Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont, Connecticut, Washington, Maine, Montana, Ohio, North Dakota, Indiana.
The deadline had passed without the needed states. Realizing the deadline would not be met, in 1978 President Carter signed a joint house resolution to extend the date to June 22, 1982, but this attempt was rendered moot due to no other states ratifying. Several states decided to rescind their earlier ratification; these states were Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, and Kentucky. When March 22 arrived only 31 states had ratified the amendment. Also, Article V of the Constitution does not speak to rescinding previous ratification.
Over the last 4 decades, there have been numerous attempts to revitalize the ratification of the ERA. Courts have ruled that any extension to the deadline date would be invalid. On June 25, 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a lower decision, ruling that the state legislatures of un-ratified states can continue consideration of the ERA.
Later that year, however, in the beginning of its new term the Supreme Court when deciding another lower court's ratification case vacated the decision, and upheld the original expiration date, and recognized those states that had since rescinded their earlier vote. The Court went on to say “The Amendment has failed of adoption no matter what the resolution of legal issues presented here.”
Was the Equal Rights Amendment shelved, and no longer an active and viable resolution? No apparently not. But my purpose here was not to just explain the history of the ERA, and leave it that. Its original design was commendable and at the time would serve, I believe, the best interests of women and the nation. Even without it, there can be little doubt that the rights of women are being upheld, so what could possibly be the reason for this renewed interest and attempt to reintroduce the ERA resolution today.
Recently Speaker Pelosi and her radical House operatives have decided to ignore the original deadline date and reopen the antiquated resolution for debate. Representative Jackie Speier (D- California) stated: “There is no expiration date on equality.” This should have been a warning, and a shot off the bow by radical feminists in and out of the political class.
The National Organization for Women issued this statement: “The ERA when properly interpreted would negate the hundreds of laws that have been passed restricting access to abortion and contraception.” This call to arms was responded to by Representative Debbie Lesko (R- Arizona): “Women’s equality of rights under the law is already recognized in the 5th
Amendments to the Constitution. She continued, “This bill is unconstitutional, unnecessary, and if ratified the ERA would be used by pro-abortion groups to undo pro-life laws.” Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) joined in the fray, “It’s about eliminating federal and state life protections, and ushering in an era of tax-payer funding of abortion.”
Representative Vicky Hartzler (R- Missouri) added another aspect to this attempt by Democrats to reintroduce the resolution, only this time revising its original intent. She stated in effect that if the word sex is defined as liberals do today it will have devastating effects involving gender identity and sexual orientation, and that “It would have a harmful impact on shelters that protect women from violence, eliminate specific workplace protections for females, and destroy women’s sports.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg at a gathering stated on the ERA, “The deadline passed. I would like to see a new beginning; I would like to start over.” She also went on to say the ERA is not necessary, and those women’s equality rights are recognized in the 5th
Amendments to the Constitution. Even the ACLU director of women’s rights wrote “It has been clearly understood that the 14th
Amendment prohibits discrimination based on sex.”
We should not be surprised at this turn of events. Remember, we’re dealing with Democrats - irrational, reckless, and conniving. They’re bent on implementing their radical extreme agenda, especially when it involves terminating innocent life in the womb and the LGBTQ lifestyle.