Amazing News On Equal Rights!
By Donna Smith, Executive Director – Progressive Democrats of America
Last night, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, following Nevada’s ratification last November. This is huge! Now, we just need more state to ratify—and Congress to remove of the arbitrary ratification deadline—then women will finally have their basic rights protected in the U.S. Constitution!
The ERA “Three State Strategy” team is part of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)’s Civil Rights/Economic and Social Justice platform. We help unite and mobilize allied groups, organizations, and individuals from both sides of the political aisle to guarantee equality for all. Please use and share our updated action alert now to keep the momentum going!
Several years back, PDA joined a small coalition working to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment via the “Three State Strategy.” We urged Representatives to cosponsor the House resolution to lift the arbitrary deadline from the ERA. Then, we helped to organize a lobby day to recruit a lead Senate sponsor for a similar resolution.
PDA activists Andrea Miller, Mike Hersh, and Stephen Spitz joined with feminists from United For Equality and National Organization for Women, as well as Maryland legislators Susan Lee and Roger Manno (currently our endorsed candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 6th district) gaining support for the “Three State Strategy” Senate resolution. Soon thereafter we had the Senate resolution, and we’ve worked to gain more support for both the House and Senate resolutions.
Congress passed the ERA in 1972, and 35 of the 38 states needed for ratification acted. Then, the arbitrary deadline passed, was extended, and passed again—with just 3 states needed for final ratification. Since then, Nevada and now Illinois acted to guarantee equal rights. Congress could extend the deadline again, or eliminate it completely. It should do the latter, and do so quickly. Then, when the next state ratifies the ERA, it will go into effect two years later.
The ERA is not controversial. Its text is short and clear:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This article shall take effect 2 years after the date of ratification.
Even so, and although both major parties supported the ERA for decades—until Reagan’s reactionaries took over the GOP with anti-equality extremists like the late Phyllis Schlafly demanding women earn less, have fewer opportunities, and remain second class citizens in the USA—we’re still not where most of the rest of the world is in protecting women’s basic rights and preventing unfair discrimination on account of sex.
Many if not most Americans believe we already have these protections for women and girls—and in some cases men and boys—but we do not. We won’t join the rest of the world until we get one more state and the Congress to act. Let’s take a moment to thank the forward-looking legislators of Illinois, then use this action tool to contact your Representative and U.S. Senators today. Ask them to support removal of the ratification deadline from the ERA.
Then dig deep and help PDA organize and educate to achieve the ratification of this landmark Constitutional Amendment. Whether you can give $38 (for the total states needed for ratification), $20.18 (the year we achieve ratification), or $3 (for our winning 3-state strategy), every contribution helps! Make automatic or one-time donations to help ratify the ERA.
Deb Schrishuhn for Mike H., Donna, Mike F, Judy, Janis, Dan, Kimberly, Dr Bill, and Bryan—your PDA National Team