Two Republicans joined several Democrats today in introducing a joint resolution to remove the deadline for states’ ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Congress passed the ERA in 1972 with the provision that the measure had to be ratified by three-fourths of the states within seven years. It was later extended to 10 years, but only 35 states out of the 38 needed ratified the ERA.
Supporters say the 27th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting immediate congressional pay raises was ratified after 203 years.
The resolution was introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Original co-sponsors are Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Mark Begich (D-Alaska).
Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) is introducing a companion bill in the House.
“As America readies to celebrate Mothers’ Day, we should be working to ensure that all women realize the promise of equal protection under the law. We cannot allow an arbitrary deadline to stand in the way of equal rights for our mothers and daughters, wives and sisters, aunts and grandmothers,” said Cardin. “Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment would at last make equality for women explicitly clear in our Constitution. We’re only three states short of victory.”
Supporters today pointed to a statement by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as reason why the ERA needs to be in the Constitution. In 2011, Scalia gave an interview in which he stated that “certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.”