House to vote on resolution that would dissolve Equal Rights Amendment deadline

Posted on: February 12th, 2020 by ABC News No Comments

rarrarorro/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote on a resolution Thursday that would pave the way for the long-developing Equal Rights Amendment and woman’s rights activists are imploring the Senate to follow suit.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined fellow congresswomen and ERA advocates Wednesday in support of HJ Resolution 79 which would remove the deadline imposed on Congress back in 1973 for the amendment’s ratification. Even though the amendment passed its 38-state minimum for ratification last month, the National Archivist hasn’t formally adopted it, because of the deadline.

Rep. Jackie Speier, the sponsor of the resolution, said a congressional dissolvent of the deadline would end the legal battles.

“There is no expiration date on equality,” she said at the news conference.

The ERA states “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” and advocates say it would be used as the basis for anti-discrimination laws. The amendment has been in the works in Congress since the 1920s, and picked up steam during the civil rights era.

Congress approved a resolution for the amendment in 1973 and sent it to the states for ratification with a seven-year deadline. It extended the deadline by three years, but by 1983, only 35 states ratified.

Activists pushed for the amendment’s adoption following the passage of the 27th amendment, which took over 200 years to get over the threshold. In 2017, Nevada ratified the ERA, followed by Illinois in 2018 and Virginia ratified it in January.

The National Archives and Records Administration said it would abide by the January opinion issued by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC) that said the amendment couldn’t be ratified due to the missed deadline. The attorneys general of Virginia, Illinois and Nevada filed a lawsuit against the National Archivist that orders it to ratify the amendment.

Pelosi said that the majority of Americans want the amendment to be part of the U.S. Constitution.

“Around the country, millions of women have banged the drumbeat for ratification and it’s time for passage,” she said.

The ERA Coalition, which is made up of several women’s rights advocacy groups, said there is strong support in the House for Speier’s resolution. The proposal passage in the Senate is unclear as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters last week that he was “personally not a supporter” of the ERA.

The ERA coalition urged McConnell to approve the resolution.

“Our polling shows that 94% of Americans want the Equal Rights Amendment to be part of the Constitution. In 2020, women should no longer be second-class citizens in the United States of America,” it said in a statement.

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