DID YOU KNOW…?
…that many people believe that the Equal Rights Amendment is already part of our Constitution?
It is not.
A Brief History of the 100-Year Fight for the Equal Rights Amendment, LAD Meeting, 2/1/2023:
Correction: NINE Republicans are required to vote in favor of abolishing the filibuster, not ten, as was stated in the video.
UPDATE, 10/27/23: School dress codes, Title IX, and the Equal Rights Amendment, from eracoalition.org:
The freedom to express oneself through clothing is a fundamental aspect of individual liberty, allowing people to convey their personality, culture, and identity. However, the issue of dress codes in schools continues to be up for debate, and cases of girls being forced to go back home and change are far from few. Restrictive and sexist dress codes continue to disproportionately target young women. Read the rest of the article, here.
UPDATE, 9/22/23: Ms. Magazine Has Been Fighting for the ERA Since Its Inception, here.
UPDATE, 9/20/23: US Rep Cori Bush, of the Equal Rights Caucus:
— ERA Coalition (@ERACoalition) September 21, 2023
UPDATE, 8/26/23: President Biden tweeted this:
One hundred years ago, a pioneering group of women proposed the Equal Rights Amendment to enshrine gender equality in the Constitution.
A century later, our fight continues to finish what they started, codifying women’s rights and gender equality once and for all.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 26, 2023
UPDATE, 7/13/23: Gillibrand Introduces ERA Now Resolution Recognizing Equal Rights Amendment As 28th Amendment; Novel Legal Strategy Would Help Enshrine Reproductive Rights Protections In The Constitution
READ — 4/28/23: Senate GOP blocks joint resolution nixing Equal Rights Amendment ratification deadline
We needed 9 republicans to vote in favor. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen.
WATCH: Rep. Pressley (and others)’s remarks after the vote, below.
SIGN the student-led petition, here.
3/3/23: The Colorado state legislature passes SJR23-006 Equal Rights Amendment Anniversary
Concerning the effort to acknowledge and enshrine in the Constitution the rights of women in the United States.
(Colorado ratified the ERA in 1972)
PRIME SPONSORS: Sen. J. Buckner, Sen. L. Cutter, Rep. R. English, Rep. M. Froelich
CO SPONSORS: Sen. J. Bridges, Sen. J. Coleman, Sen. J. Danielson, Sen. T. Exum, Sen. S. Fenberg, Sen. R. Fields, Sen. J. Ginal, Sen. J. Gonzales, Sen. C. Hansen, Sen. N. Hinrichsen, Sen. S. Jaquez Lewis, Sen. C. Kolker, Sen. J. Marchman, Sen. D. Moreno, Sen. K. Mullica, Sen. K. Priola, Sen. D. Roberts, Sen. R. Rodriguez, Sen. T. Sullivan, Sen. F. Winter, Sen. R. Zenzinger
Rep. J. Amabile, Rep. J. Bacon, Rep. S. Bird, Rep. A. Boesenecker, Rep. K. Brown, Rep. L. Daugherty, Rep. R. Dickson, Rep. M. Duran, Rep. L. Garcia, Rep. S. Gonzales-Gutierrez, Rep. E. Hamrick, Rep. L. Herod, Rep. I. Jodeh, Rep. J. Joseph, Rep. C. Kipp, Rep. S. Lieder, Rep. M. Lindsay, Rep. W. Lindstedt, Rep. M. Lukens, Rep. J. Mabrey, Rep. B. Marshall, Rep. M. Martinez, Rep. J. McCluskie, Rep. K. McCormick, Rep. B. McLachlan, Rep. D. Michaelson Jenet, Rep. D. Ortiz, Rep. J. Parenti, Rep. N. Ricks, Rep. S. Sharbini, Rep. E. Sirota, Rep. M. Snyder, Rep. T. Story, Rep. B. Titone, Rep. A. Valdez, Rep. E. Velasco, Rep. S. Vigil, Rep. M. Weissman, Rep. J. Willford, Rep. S. Woodrow, Rep. M. Young, Rep. C. deGruy Kennedy
(House Republicans Armogost, Bottoms, Bradley, DeGraaf, Evans, Frizell, Hartsook, Holtorf, Luck, Taggart, Wilson, Winter[T.] voted against SJR23-006)
CONCERNING THE EFFORT TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND ENSHRINE IN THE CONSTITUTION THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES.
WHEREAS, This year marks the 100th anniversary of when the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”) was initially proposed in Congress. Many things about American life have changed since then. It took 100 years, but there is now widespread bipartisan support of the Equal Rights
WHEREAS, The strides made over these past 100 years are not inconsequential, but are still piecemeal when compared to the straightforward declaration of the ERA, which simply 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
WHEREAS, We know that women’s rights on multiple levels are still being challenged. Bodily autonomy, equal pay, and protection from sexual harassment are still being denied; and
WHEREAS, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, the Brennan Center’s Women and Democracy Fellow, noted that the ERA would empower Congress “to enforce gender equity through legislation and, more generally, the creation of a social framework to formally acknowledge systemic biases that permeate and often limit women’s daily experiences”; and
WHEREAS, Among 193 United Nations member states, 85% have a provision in their constitution that specifically addresses gender equality, and 60% have a provision that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex; and
WHEREAS, The ERA would transform what is currently implicit into the unambiguous and strengthen the bedrock of our most dearly held American value, that all people are created equal. As one of the first states to allow women to vote, several years before the 19th amendment gave all women in America this right, Colorado has proudly stood by and for women. The ERA has been duly ratified by the 38 required states. It is long past time to fill the full measure of this storied history, and with Virginia’s vote last year, the last of the 38 required, it is time to enshrine the ERA into the U.S. Constitution; and
WHEREAS, Coloradans and all American women deserve this basic protection of their inherent freedom; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Seventy-fourth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the House of Representatives concurring herein:
(1) That women have fought long and hard to have their rights recognized;
(2) That women and those identifying as women are still subject to pay, pregnancy, and other forms of discrimination; and
(3) That, having received the ratification of the 38 states required, it is time for the United States Congress to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
— Passed by the Senate (3/1/23) and House (3/2/23) chambers of the Colorado General Assembly. Signed by Steve Fenberg, President of the Senate (3/3/23). Signed by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Julie McCluskie (3/3/23).
READ: A “Mini” History of the 100-Year Fight for the ERA, Daily Kos, 2/27/23
WATCH, BELOW: the SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING on the EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT! The ERA has been presented at every congress for ONE HUNDRED YEARS, has met BOTH constitutional requirements (38 states have ratified — Colorado ratified the ERA in 1972, Virginia was the 38th state to ratify in 2020 — and approval by 2/3rds of both chambers of congress, in 1971 & 1972) and the ERA is still not part of our Constitution. We gave a mini history of the ERA, on the heels of the Senate Joint Resolution 4 (SJR4) press conference at our LAD meeting, on February 1. This hearing is yet another step in this long fight.
READ: What could the US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the ERA mean for equality in the US?, equalitynow.org, 2/27/23.
READ: US Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), along with Chairwoman Lois Frankel (FL-21), issued the following statement applauding the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), 2/28/23.
READ: US Representative Ayanna Pressley’s press release, 1/13/23.
WATCH (scroll forward to the gavel at 16:40. For a list of approximate timestamps that you can have open in another tab while watching the video, go here.):
ALSO, separate window, larger view, here.
Senate Judicial Committee Hearing Notes —
JUDICIAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS in attendance on 2/28/23, Democrats:
Senator Dick Durbin, IL, Chair
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, RI
Senator Amy Klobuchar, MN
Senator Richard Blumenthal, CT
Senator Mazie Hirono, HI
Senator Alex Padilla, CA
Senator Jon Ossoff, GA
Senator Peter Welch, VT
SPEAKING IN SUPPORT:
Thursday Williams, College Student & Former Cast Member of What the Constitution Means to Me, ERA Coalition Board Member, Hartford, CT. You can read the text of her testimony, here.
The HonorableJuliana Stratton, Lieutenant Governor, State of Illinois, Springfield, IL. You can read the text of her testimony, here.
Kathleen M. Sullivan, Senior Counsel, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Los Angeles, CA. You can read the text of her testimony, here.
JUDICIAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS in attendance on 2/28/23, Republicans:
Senator Lindsay Graham, SC, Ranking Member
Senator Chuck Grassley, IA
Senator Mike Lee, UT
Senator Ted Cruz, TX
SPEAKING IN OPPOSITION:
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, LA
Jennifer C. Braceras, Director, Independent Women’s Law Center (Koch funded, originally named “Women for Judge [Clarence] Thomas”), Independent Women’s Forum,Concord, MA
Elizabeth Price Foley, Professor of Law, Florida International University College of Law, Miami, FL
After 100 HUNDRED YEARS, and being introduced to EVERY congress since — one more step toward FULL RATIFICATION of the ERA: the announcement of Senate Joint Resolution 4, to remove the ERAs 1982 deadline (the US House had removed the deadline in 2021) and FINALLY make the ERA our 28th Amendment to our Constitution. (SJR 4 was introduced in the Senate on 1/24/23. Bill link on congress.gov: https://www.congress.gov/…/senate-joint-resolution/4…)
Simply put, the Equal Rights Amendment reads:
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Please watch at least Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s amazing remarks below — she is leading the CHARGE. And, extremist republicans in the House will SURELY show their sexism and misogyny in opposition (Just as Phyllis Schlafly ran the opposition campaign that paralyzed the ERA in 1980). But as Senator Cardin says in the video, not only is the ERA supported overwhelmingly today, MANY Americans actually believe the ERA is ALREADY a part of our Constitution.
It is not. YET. In 1980, the ERA first fell short of ratification, by three states. Hawaii was the first to ratify in 1972, Colorado ratified the ERA one month later. Congress had imposed an arbitrary deadline of 1982. But there is NO DEADLINE ON EQUALITY.
So what is needed now is AMPLIFICATION of OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT. Talk to your daughters and sons, your families and friends, and spread the fascinating history of the ERA, and the URGENCY of NOW (see the resource page below, lots of links). #ERANow #ERA #ReadyAndRatified
THEN, since this is a JOINT resolution, CONTACT our CD2 Rep. Joe Neguse and our Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper — we know they support the ERA, but they need to be LOUD IN THEIR SUPPORT. Scroll down for contact info below…
This is a GAMECHANGER for EQUALITY — ALL courts, local, state & federal, need to OBEY the Constitution. This would affect how domestic violence victims are treated, how healthcare is administered, and the list goes ON and ON…
EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT: We can make it happen NOW!
As a starting point, the ERA would usher in changes in sex equality protections by:
- Adding an explicit guarantee of sex equality in the Constitution, which would provide the strongest legal protection against future legislative attempts to roll back gender equality rights.
- Providing the opportunity for courts, the executive, and Congress to modernize the idea of equality and equal citizenship protected by the constitution, embracing a broader, more modern concept of substantive, not just formal, equality.
- Empowering advocates and the courts to challenge discriminatory laws based on sex at the federal, state and local levels.
- Providing a basis for courts to recognize pregnancy discrimination as a form of prohibited sex discrimination.
- Requiring courts to apply the most exacting level of judicial review on discriminatory laws that are based on gender and sex stereotyping and bias.
- Supporting an inclusive definition of sex that encompasses sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and others.
- Bringing the United States in line with the more than 100 other countries with constitutional protections against sex-based discrimination.
SLIDES FROM OUR 2/1/23 LAD MEETING:
(The STOP ERA flyer, above, came from the Gerald Ford Presidential Library. Ironically, or perhaps appropriately(?), Betty Ford was an ardent ERA supporter. To view the pdf stored at the Ford Presidential Library website, go here.)
Phyllis Schlafly was called at the time, “a political animal in homemaker’s clothing”, who spoke in “half truths to her wide-eyed followers.” Quite intelligent as well as ambitious, she received a Masters from Radcliffe, a Masters from Harvard, and a law degree from Washington University, often working outside of the home, traveling, giving lectures, and appearing on TV. Was a self-published author. Ran for congress twice, and lost, before taking on her campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment — so not exactly the image of a 1970s homemaker. While her volunteers, who she described as “housewives who didn’t even know what their state capitol was”, did the grassroots work: answered phone calls and stuffed envelopes with STOP ERA flyers.
Still, ironically, and quite hypocritically, Schlafly’s message was to scare conservative women into thinking their roles as “homemakers” were at risk. That the ERA would have “women involuntarily assigned to heavy lifting, strenuous and dangerous men’s jobs” (though, Schafly herself worked at an ammunition factory during WWII). Now, some of her fears were things we actually want when it comes to equality, like marriage equality and access to reproductive care. But her agenda followed a common conservative trope, still used today: beware of progress, because your way of life will change, in fact, you might lose something, if others ask for fairness and equality. Phyllis Schlafly endorsed Donald Trump before she died in 2016.
Senator Schumer email: https://www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck
Schumer DC office: 202.224.6542
Schumer twitter @SenSchumer: https://twitter.com/SenSchumer
SENATOR MICHAEL BENNET: 202-224-5852 (DC)
303-455-7600 (Denver). Website, here.
SENATOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER: 202-224-5941 (DC)
303-244-1628 (Denver). Website, here.
OR USE RESISTBOT: text “resist” to 50409
Virginia was the 38th state to ratify the ERA in 2020 (38 is three-fourths of the states, which was required. Colorado ratified the ERA in 1972. See where the rest of the states stand, here ). The US House in 2021 (when we were in the majority) DID pass the removal of the 1982 deadline. The US Senate now has to do so as well. The other option is to “begin anew” following the traditional legislative process using the Constitution’s Article V ratification process.
The fight for the ERA is over 100 years old. It was ramping up in the early 1970s, with enormous popularity (90% of US House AND US Senate approving it at the time), state after state, swiftly ratifying it. THEN in 1972, right when 28 of the 38 states required had ratified the ERA, the opposition, led by arch conservative Phyllis Schlafly, took control. And the ERA failed in 1980, falling 3 states short of getting enough states to ratify it.
Did you know?: there are Constitutional scholars, including Laurence Tribe, that believe the ERA, with Virginia ratifying it in 2020, is IN FACT ratified, end of story! The Constitutional Archivist simply has to sign it. The previous archivist, David S. Ferriero (who has since retired), said that it “wasn’t in his purview” that he needed a court order to be given the authority to sign it. But according to some experts, that’s simply not true. Biden appointed a new Archivist Debra Steidel Hall in May of 2022.
In a conversation with US Rep. Jamie Raskin, Kate Kelly, the author of the book, “Ordinary Equality” (also a podcast), said that what is needed now (and again!) is OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT. President Biden, a year ago, said this, “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. 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…” Read the full statement, here.
TAKE ACTION —
1. RESEARCH the history of the ERA, and share what you know with others!
2. CONTACT SENATORS BENNET & HICKENLOOPER, urging them to frontburner, and support the ERA as the 28th Amendment, NOW! If you talk to a Senate aide, ask where the Senator stands on ERA. Then ask WHAT is the Senator prepared to DO? Ask for a public statement in support of the ERA. And if it doesn’t happen, call again.
SENATOR MICHAEL BENNET: 202-224-5852 (DC)
303-455-7600 (Denver). Website, here.
SENATOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER: 202-224-5941 (DC)
303-244-1628 (Denver). Website, here.
OR USE RESISTBOT: text “resist” to 50409
Page 3 of 3:
3. SIGN THESE PETITIONS:
MORE ERA links and resources:
ERA Social Media toolkit, from NOW, here.
Ordinary Equality by Kate Kelly: on goodreads, here.
Ordinary Equality podcast, here.
Generation Ratify: The Young People’s Feminist Movement, website, here.
Equal Means Equal, 2016 documentary, available on Prime video.
On the 50th anniversary of Congress passing the Equal Rights Amendment, the ERA Coalition held a virtual event to honor those who have dedicated their lives to fighting for equality for all. “The Time is Now” honored Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14)[both now retired from Congress. Maloney is now President of NOW], ERA Coalition / Fund for Women’s Equality President and CEO Carol Jenkins, and posthumously former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh.
You can find and retweet the 9-tweet mini history of the ERA, below, here:
BELOW: the pamphlet that Phyllis Schlafly mailed out to thousands of households against the ERA. Her campaign began in 1972 (the same year as Title IX, in June), when the ERA was enormously popular. That same year, 22 states, including Colorado, swiftly ratified the ERA. In 1973 (Roe v Wade had been ruled in January), 8 states ratified. Shlafly’s campaign was effective. The ratifications from states slowed, then stalled to 35, which was 3 states shy of the 38 (or 3/4ths of the states) needed by 1980, when brought forth in congress that year.
Ironic — or appropriate? — that this artifact is held in the Presidential Library of Gerald Ford, given that Betty Ford was an ardent supporter of the ERA:
ON THE LOCAL LEVEL:
On January 21, 2023, a cold and snowy day, members of LAD and other Longmont residents participated in the Bigger Than Roe Rally at 6th & Main in Longmont.
We put together some notes from, research for, and a resource document was prepared for that event. Included below is information from that resource document, with links and action items throughout.
REMARKS: “I wanted to thank everyone for coming out today. Last May, Alito’s draft was leaked, and by June 24, the awful day came: Roeverturn. But how many of you know that weeks before the leak, March 3rd, to be exact, state legislators, here in Colorado, introduced HB22-1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act? Simply put, the bill says, “codification of a person’s fundamental right to make reproductive health-care decisions free from government interference.” I put together a resource document, with a link to the General Assembly website, so you can see the details of this remarkable bill. By April 4, Governor Polis had signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act into law. Trust me, the law covers a lot, but the sponsors of that bill, State Reps Meg Froelich, Daneya Esgar, and State Senator Julie Gonzales, said in their remarks on the floor: “there is more work to be done.” More work to be done. We have legislators here today, who will speak to that.”
Local Legislator Contact Info —
State Rep. Karen McCormick: email@example.com
State Senator Janice Marchman: firstname.lastname@example.org
State Rep. Jennifer Parenti: email@example.com
That’s what can happen on the state level. But what about on the Federal Level? Roe might be 50 years old this year, but the fight for the ERA has been waged for 100 years, having been introduced before every session of Congress since 1923…