ERA Campaign Network
Here we are in 2018 and the E.R.A., the 28th amendment to the US Constitution still has not been ratified. In 1972, supporters thought the amendment would be ratified almost overnight. The Hawaii State Legislature ratified it 32 minutes after Congress approved it. However, not was the case in other states. By the 1982 deadline only 35 states in total had ratified the 28th amendment. In 2017 Nevada ratified the E.R.A., followed by Illinois in 2018.
Thirteen states still have not ratified the E.R.A. - Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. Only one more state is needed to reach the 38 state minimum for passing an amendment to the Constitution. What will happen if a 38th state does ratify the ERA considering that the 1982 deadline has passesd? Congress could simply vote to change the old deadline. COngress could also pass a brand-new amendment, which would most likely require states to ratify the E.R.A. again. With Trump in the White House and the GOP still controlling the Senate this seems unlikely to happen. However, Trump has fired up women in the US and with a blue wave not only in the US House of Repsentatives but also in some state's legislatures behaps a 38th state ratification is possible.
In 2007 the website for the ERA Campaign Network was launched. When the site's domain registration was not renewed by the original owners, the site disappeared from the web. The new owner believes in the original goals of the ERA Campaign Network and has chosen to once again take the site live with an edited version of the original content.
Content is from the site's 2003 -2014 archived pages.
For more information about Passing Equal Rights Amendment/ERA Makes Sex Discrimination a Violation of U.S. Constitution, go to: http://2passera.org/
THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT:
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
To the continuing great disadvantage of all American women, the United States Constitution still does not include a guarantee of equal rights on the basis of sex. The Equal Rights Amendment, if and when enacted, will provide that vital bedrock guarantee of full equality to female as well as male citizens.
We are a network of organizations, groups, and individuals, all around the United States, working to achieve the addition of the ERA to the US Constitution – a matter of simple justice for all the citizens of the United States.
The "3-state strategy," developed during the 1990s, provides a very promising means for attaining that goal SOON, by achieving ratification in just three of the 15 remaining not-yet-ratified states*, and then ensuring that the Equal Rights Amendment is therefore added to the Constitution.
This sparked the current vigorous and rapidly growing campaign to achieve the ERA. Many organizations and individuals, all around the country, are now working for the ERA. (The National Council of Women's Organizations, NCWO, supports ratification of the ERA; its nearly 200 member organizations have a collective total of more than twelve million members.)
*The 15 currently-unratified states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.
Alice Paul fought for women’s suffrage. After the 19th Amendment in 1920, she wrote the first draft of what later became the Equal Rights Amendment.
CreditSmithsonian Institute of American History, via Associated Press
THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT - ESSENTIAL AND NOW ACHIEVABLE!
WHY IS IT THAT EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN ARE STILL NOT GUARANTEED BY OUR CONSTITUTION?
The simple answer is that the founding fathers, in creating and interpreting the Constitution, chose to apply citizens’ rights only to property-owning white males. Over the years, constitutional amendments and interpretations gradually extended citizens' rights to others, including, after the Civil War, to formerly enslaved people–but still only to the male half of the population. All women continued to be assumed “taken care of” by their fathers and then by their husbands, and not suited, by their very nature, for independent decision-making and participation as citizens.
The 14th Amendment (1868) states: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” However, the term “person” was clearly not intended to equally include women, since the allocation of elected representatives was specified to be based on the number of the state’s voting males. This, together with the 15th Amendment (1870) outlawing the denial of the vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” – with the fully intentional omission of “sex”-- was the “justification” given when in 1873 Susan B. Anthony was tried, declared guilty, and fined, for the “illegal” act of a woman casting a vote.
THE UNFINISHED STRUGGLE FOR WOMEN'S CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED EQUAL RIGHTS
After the enactment of the 14th Amendment, it took 52 more years of frustrating hard work before women finally, in 1920, won the right to vote. But that was not enough. For women were still treated, under the law, as second-class citizens in numerous and vital ways: Unlike men, they still had to fight for their right to be treated as equal citizens under the law.
Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party, in 1923, therefore proposed The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which by 1943 was worded as follows:
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 amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
Thanks to strong women's rights efforts, the "Alice Paul" ERA was finally passed by Congress in 1972, and sent to the states for ratification. Powerful opposition soon arose, from economic and other interests that profited mightily from discriminating against women and treating them as second-class citizens, and from people convinced that male domination of women was justified and should remain embedded in society and its laws. In spite of a 3-year extension to the original 7-year ratification time limit, the ERA was ratified by only 35 states – three short of the required 38. Thus it appeared that women's struggle for constitutionally guaranteed equal rights would have to start all over again, getting the ERA or something similar passed by two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress (preferably without the handicap of a ratification time limit), and then ratified by three-fourths of the states.
Women and their male supporters continued – and still continue today – to be forced to toil issue by issue, law by law, often state by state, to persuade legislators and courts to affirm that women’s rights should be equal to those of men. Even when the efforts are successful (as many have been), all such gains remain vulnerable and reversible. Women have to struggle merely to maintain their patchwork of hard-won gains, let alone to make further progress toward what should be their birthright – fully equal rights with men. The ERA, when added to the Constitution, will make that birthright explicit and permanent.
Since the 1982 expiration of the congressionally imposed and later extended ratification time limit, the ERA has been reintroduced in every session of Congress in the form of House and Senate resolutions to start the amending process over from the beginning. Each time thus far, they have been stalled without action.
NEW HOPE: THE "THREE-STATE" STRATEGY
In the 1990's, a promising new strategy for achieving the ERA arose. In 1992, the "Madison" Amendment, concerning congressional pay raises, became the 27th Amendment to the Constitution after a ratification period of 203 years. This established a precedent such that there should be no constitutional objection to an ERA ratification period longer than the current few decades.
Also, Congress, when it first passed the ERA in 1972, chose to impose a 7-year ratification time limit, but not in the binding text of the amendment itself. In 1978, a later Congress extended that time limit three years, to 1982, thus establishing the precedent that Congress has the power to do so. A strong argument can therefore be made that any session of Congress could, by a simple majority in both houses, extend (or eliminate) the currently expired ratification time limit on the ERA, such that just three more state ratifications would add the ERA to the Constitution.
Note: The 35 existing state ratifications should stand, because under Article V of the Constitution and confirmed by precedent, states that have once ratified an amendment do not have the power to rescind that ratification. (The 15 not-yet-ratified states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.)
Thus the "3-state strategy" was launched, recognizing the likelihood of opposition from those who still oppose equal rights for women, but buoyed by authoritative analyses supporting its legal validity. Today, the 3-state strategy is gaining more and more attention, and a major new activist push for the ERA is growing rapidly.
A great many of the "reasons" motivating anti-ERA forces in the 1970s, and the arguments they used, have now lost much or even all of their "punch:" The formerly very high degree to which corporations and other institutions based their profits and economic survival on vastly underpaid female employees, arbitrarily restricted to low level jobs, has been greatly reduced. The old trumpeted fears of having women fighting in wars, “unisex” bathrooms, women “bosses” over men, women in the pulpit, women acting and making major decisions in high level business, political, and judicial positions, have lost almost all their sting. After all, women are already there, and succeeding, in numbers far too great to ignore. And arguments about “the death of the family” and “destruction of morality” if women were to be – horrors! – permitted equal rights with men, now sound absurd and positively medieval.
The changes since the 1970’s are underscored by a professionally conducted nationwide survey, commissioned in July 2001 by the ERA Campaign Network. It showed that 96% of American adults believe that men and women should have equal rights, and 88% believe that those rights should be guaranteed to them by the US Constitution. These views are so widely held by both men and women and across all segments of our society, that most Americans (72%) mistakenly think the Constitution already specifies that male and female citizens are entitled to equal rights.
Thus it is clear that the time has definitely come, now, to achieve the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. And just one more timely point: With the growing attention to the worldwide importance of equal rights and opportunities for women, it is increasingly embarrassing (and an invitation to accusations of US hypocrisy) that unlike the constitutions of almost all other democratically inclined nations, the US Constitution still fails to guarantee its female citizens equal rights with its male citizens.
So, re the ERA: If not now, when? And if WE don't make it happen, who will?
THE NEW ERA CAMPAIGN
The current nationwide campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment has growing numbers of women’s rights activists all around the nation, in ratified as well as not-yet-ratified states, working to achieve this vitally needed constitutional guarantee for women. Vigorous ratification drives are ongoing in Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois and Missouri, while many of the other not-yet-ratified states are organizing their own ratification drives as well.
In addition, growing numbers of ERA proponents in Congress are taking action. In the last Congress, Sen. Edward Kennedy reintroduced the ERA in the Senate (S.J.Res.10) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney reintroduced the ERA (which she calls the Women’s Equality Amendment) in the House of Representatives (H.J.Res.40), both with no time limit for completion of ratification. Before that Congress dissolved at the end of 2008, the House bill had 202 cosponsors and the Senate bill had 24 cosponsors. Hopes are high that the 2009-2010 Congress will, once the bills are reintroduced, attract many more cosponsors and result in successful passage of the ERA (requiring a two-thirds vote in both houses). In addition, of special interest to proponents of the 3-state strategy described above, Rep. Robert Andrews is expected to reintroduce his resolution requiring the House to take any legislative action necessary to verify that the addition of three more state ratifications will fulfill the requirement to add the ERA to the U.S. Constitution.
2009 Update: The three congressional ERA resolutions have not yet been reintroduced in the new (2009) Congress, reportedly to avoid having the issue "lost in the shuffle" while Congress is grappling with an unprecedented number of extraordinarily urgent and enormously challenging economic, environmental, and international crises.
DE SURVEY SHOWS THAT AMERICANS WANT A CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE OF EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN
Seeing the need for valid and reliable information on the views of the American people on equal rights for men and women, and on a potential Constitutional guarantee of those rights, the ERA Campaign Network, in 2001, commissioned a nationwide survey on those subjects.
The survey was conducted for the ERA Campaign Network by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) CARAVAN Services in July 2001. It involved telephone interviews among a national probability sample of 1,002 adults, comprising 500 men and 502 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. ORC’s CARAVAN surveys are conducted using the most advanced and reliable methodologies and technologies available. The margin of error is plus or minus 3% for the sample as a whole, and plus or minus 4% for statistics based only on men or only on women, at the 95% confidence level. Note: Opinion Research Corporation, headquartered with its parent corporation ORC International in Princeton, New Jersey, has been known and respected for its high quality opinion and attitude research since its founding in 1938.
Overwhelmingly, Americans agree that male and female citizens should have equal rights, and the vast majority of Americans want those rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. Most, however, mistakenly assume that the Constitution already guarantees those rights.
Those overall findings held true for both men and women, and for all the other demographic categories examined, by region, age, education, household income, race, and household makeup.
Following are all the actual questions asked, with the tables showing the distribution of responses for the survey respondents as a whole, and for men and women separately. In those instances in which there are statistically significant differences in the responses of men vs. women, that is so indicated. (If not indicated, any observed differences are not statistically significant.)
- "In your opinion, should male and female citizens of the United States have equal rights?"
- "As far as you know, does the Constitution of the United States make it clear that male and female citizens are SUPPOSED to have equal rights?"
- In your opinion, SHOULD the Constitution make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?
|* Statistically significant differences between men and women: Somewhat more women than men believe the Constitution should make it clear.|
|In all other demographic categories studied, between 83% and 94% believe the Constitution should make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights.|
(For additional information about this survey, contact Jennifer S. Macleod, Ph.D., National Coordinator of the ERA Campaign Network,
What Opposition to the ERA Is Really All About
By Jennifer S. Macleod, Ph.D, April 2009
Many established institutions and forces in our country are still fighting desperately against the Equal Rights Amendment because, in one way or another, they substantially benefit -- or believe that they benefit -- from maintaining whatever is left of the age-old system of male dominance over women.
The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or ERA, 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.” Added to the U.S. Constitution, the Equal Rights Amendment would make it clear that the United States stands for the full equality of all its citizens, female as well as male.
Passed by Congress in 1972, the ERA has never been ratified by the requisite number of states. Now, equal rights advocates around the country are working to make it a reality by securing the ratification of the needed three more states, or by starting the amending process over to attain passage by Congress and then fresh ratification by the necessary 38 states.
Why are we having so much difficulty in amending the U.S. Constitution in such an obviously timely and essential way?
Cultural History Tells the Story
To answer that question, we have to look back – way back.
All through the tens of thousands of years of human development and history up to only about 150 years ago, a sharp division of labor existed between males and females. This was essential to the generation-by-generation survival of every family, clan, tribe and to humans as a whole. Only the women could gestate and give birth and breastfeed infants. Pregnancy and childbirth were extremely dangerous and often fatal to the mother. Many infants died, as well, and many of those who survived died before reaching the age at which they, too, could reproduce. As a result, almost every woman, for the survival of her human group, had to center her life on successful reproduction.
Because of that survival necessity, almost all human groups developed cultures, customs, practices, belief systems and institutions – including most religions – that thoroughly enforced the sharp division of labor between the sexes, sometimes through violence. These beliefs held that women were, by their nature and capabilities, suited only for reproduction and related functions, such as gathering food and water, preparing meals for the family and caring for the home. In almost every society, men were fully established as being “properly” dominant over women, and the “owners” and “protectors” of their women and children. Every female child was consistently, day after day, taught to accept her subjection to male rule.
The absolute division between the two sexes, with the men completely dominant over women, became so deeply entrenched in almost all human cultures that it continued in full strength long after it was no longer a survival necessity.
Changing the Paradigm
In the nineteenth century, something remarkable happened. A few courageous women (and some male supporters) began to join together to challenge the beliefs and institutions that had enforced women's subject status.
But the established beliefs of society in the U.S. included the Constitution, which, when written and adopted by the founding fathers in 1789, codified and perpetuated what was then considered women’s natural and unchangeable subject status. Women who understood the dreadful toll of male dominance and the suppression of women nevertheless persevered, year after year, decade after decade, always against powerful opposition. Their efforts have led to agonizingly slow and intermittent, but nevertheless extraordinary, improvements in the status and opportunities of women.
Today, American women continue to advance, but are still held back because of that still-existing basic fault in the U.S. Constitution, that continues to deny them the all-important constitutionally-guaranteed equal rights as citizens. Laws to reduce the numerous ways in which women have been disadvantaged, even when successfully passed, have all too easily and frequently been weakened, overturned, or simply ignored by institutions and courts. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin and sex, but its application to sex discrimination was delayed for years because to do so was widely regarded as “ridiculous,” episodes vividly described by Gail Collins in her book, America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines. More recently, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, that had slowly but greatly reduced sex discrimination in education, including in athletic programs in public schools, was severely weakened by actions of the federal government in the 2000 through 2008 period, despite vigorous protests by NOW, Feminist Majority, and other advocacy groups. Women’s rights organizations and activists are forced to expend much of their effort and time simply to defending past gains.
Today, the pursuit of full constitutional equality for women still faces powerful and well-funded opposition forces fighting a desperate “rear guard action” to retain what is left of the ancient male supremacy patterns of human society.
Almost every time an additional state legislature appears close to ratifying the ERA, Phyllis Schlafly, who takes credit for “defeating” the ERA in the 1970s, shows up with her Eagle Forum and other supporters. They bombard legislators not only with the usual political pressures, but also with patently false, but often effective, scare tactics. Their “Stop ERA” campaign claims that if the ERA is passed, the age for consensual sex will be 12, prostitution will be legalized, and everything from prisons to Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops will be sex-integrated. Schlafly's speech at Bates College on March 28, 2007 included the assertion that “women should not be permitted to do jobs traditionally held by men, such as firefighter, soldier or construction worker, because of women’s ‘inherent physical inferiority,’” according to a local Maine newspaper article.
Also in evidence at legislative hearings on the ERA are spokespeople for extremely conservative religious organizations that use ancient religious beliefs regarding women’s status as tools to argue against the ERA. (Eve’s original sin, anyone?)
Advancing Full Equality Regardless of Gender
The extreme no-holds-barred vehemence of the opposition -- small in number of adherents, but great in power and resources – points to how significant the ERA will be in achieving major advances toward full legal equality for women. Inevitably, the addition of the ERA to the constitution will permit women (and men when they are the victims of sex discrimination) to proactively challenge and overturn the remaining sex discriminatory aspects of federal, state and local laws and their implementation. The ERA will also empower women and their male supporters to actively oppose other still-ingrained sex discriminatory cultural and societal patterns, including damaging assumptions about the comparative abilities and characteristics of girls and boys, women and men.
What is opposition to the ERA really all about? It is a frantic last ditch attempt to block, and then reverse, one of the most extraordinary and mighty tides of change in all of human history: the emergence, at last, of the long suppressed female half of the human race to full and equal participation in society and the shaping of a better future for all.
2007 - 2009 NEWS BULLETINS FROM THE ERA CAMPAIGN NETWORK
May 13, 2009
ERA NEWS FROM WASHINGTON DC
In recent years, the Equal Rights Amendment (following the “start-over” strategy as an alternative to the 3-state strategy), has been reintroduced in every new Congress by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) in the House and Sen. Edward Kennedy (MA) in the Senate, on or near March 22, the anniversary of Congress passing the ERA in 1972 and sending it to the states for ratification. This year, however, the reintroductions have been delayed, reportedly to avoid having the issue “lost in the shuffle” while Congress and the new Administration are grappling with an unprecedented number of extraordinarily urgent and enormously challenging economic, environmental and international crises.
Women’s rights proponents are naturally suspicious every time women’s issues are “temporarily” set aside because of “more important” or “more urgent” issues. Therefore, we continue to vigorously pursue our ERA goal in other ways (including the “3-state” strategy in not-yet-ratified states), and are keeping in touch with the situation in Congress to ensure that as soon as possible, the ERA will in fact be reintroduced – and vigorously pursued. (The Equal Rights Amendment was explicitly supported in the 2008 Democratic Party Platform, but the Republican Party Platform omitted it.)
Also in DC: The ERA Campaign Network now has a representative in the nation’s capital -- Carolyn Cook, e-mail ERAcampaignDC@verizon.net. She is bringing great energy and many skills to her role. She recently wrote a fine article on the ERA that was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on April 12, and was then picked up by a number of newspapers and their online versions, all around the country. To read it (and e-mail it to others), here’s its web address:
January 20, 2009
PROSPECTS FOR THE ERA ARE IMPROVING!
The year 2008 was surely a historic break-through year in awareness of, and public and leadership support for, women’s rights, opportunities – and the ERA. One might say that at last, the public and politicians of all stripes are finally beginning to recognize that half (actually, more than half) of the citizens of our great country are female, and that women’s needs, issues, rights, and opportunities should no longer be treated as if women are merely an “interest group” that needs to be “worried about” only from time to time.
First: The historic emergence of the first female presidential candidate widely recognized as having a good chance of winning: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who garnered a record-breaking 18 million or so primary votes – from men as well as women, in spite of the ubiquitous and sometimes vicious sexism of her treatment by many of the media and politicians;
Second: The landslide electoral win of the Democratic Party’s historic choice of another presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, who not only succeeded in finally breaking through the race barrier that has marred our country for so long, but also made sure that his party’s platform is laced through and through with clauses clearly addressing women’s issues and rights – including strong support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Along with his election, the new Congress also has a significant increase in representatives and senators favorable to women’s issues and rights, so that anti-women’s rights members will be less able to block needed women’s rights measures in the US House of Representatives or the US Senate – and at least two such measures are already in the works.
Thus we ERA activists and supporters are now suddenly living in a sharply improved social and political environment with regard to women’s status! It is up to US to grab the opportunities this creates, to move our country ahead toward the point at which women’s rights, opportunities and issues will, at last, be given the degree and quality of attention – and action – that reflect women’s numbers in the country’s population. And, of course, achieving the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to our country’s Constitution will be an essential step in that direction.
So onward and upward for to achieve the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to our US Constitution! -- Jennifer S. Macleod, National Coordinator, ERA Campaign Network
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
As most readers of this newsletter know, there are two different but cooperating strategies
currently being pursued to achieve the ERA: the “3-state” strategy to win ratification of the ERA by three more states to add to the 35 ratifications won in the 1970’s, thus reaching the required 38 (three fourths of the 50 states); and the “start-over” strategy, starting the amending process afresh, with new passage of the ERA (sometimes called the Women’s Equality Amendment, WEA) by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress, followed by winning fresh ratification by at least 38 of the states. Here are ways you can significantly move one or both of the strategies ahead toward victory.
REACH KEY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WITH YOUR PRO-ERA MESSAGE :
· Contact Rep.Carolyn Maloney (2332 Rayburn HOB, Washington DC 20515-3214, fax 202-225-4709), chief sponsor of the “start-over” Equal Rights Amendment (that she usually calls the Women’s Equality Amendment) resolution in the House of Representatives. Urge her to reintroduce it in March as she has done in the past, and to press forward to win the necessary two-thirds House vote to approve it.
· Contact Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Office of the Speaker, H-232, US Capitol, Washington DC 20513-3214, phone 202-225-0100, or leave a message on http://speaker.house.gov/contact). Urge her to facilitate the progress of the ERA/WEA resolution so that it will be passed as soon as possible.
· Contact Representative Robert Andrews (2439 Rayburn HOB, Washington DC 20515, phone 202-225-6501). Urge him to reintroduce his resolution in support of the 3-state strategy, requiring the House of Representatives to take any legislative action necessary to verify the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the Constitution when the legislatures of an additional three states ratify it.
· Contact Senator Edward Kennedy (317 Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington DC 20510, telephone 202-224-4543, or send him a message online athttp://kennedy.senate.gov/senator/contact.cfm.) Urge him to reintroduce the ERA/WEA in the Senate in March, as he has done in the past, and press forward to achieve the two-thirds Senate vote needed to to pass it.
· Contact Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (phone 202-224-3542, fax 202-224-7327, 522 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington DC 20510). Urge him to facilitate the progress of the ERA/WEA resolution in order to get it passed as soon as possible.
· Note: None of the above congressional resolutions, if and when passed, will incur any costs to the US government or the taxpayers.
HELP THE NOT-YET-RATIFIED STATES:
If you live in, or are particularly interested in, one (or more) of the following not-yet ratified states, contact the state’s ERA leader or organization for guidance as to how best to help their ongoing campaign to achieve their state’s ratification of the ERA while the mood of the country is on our side:
· ARKANSAS, where Rep. Lindsley Smith of the state’s legislature, whose resolution proposing state ratification of the ERA was narrowly defeated in committee during the 2007 session, plans to bring back the resolution during the upcoming 2009 session, saying, “I’ve had legislators who’ve questioned it in the past say, ‘Hey, I’m going to support it this time’….I think everything’s in line to pass it in the 2009 session.” Contact Berta Seitz,BertaSeitz@att.net, phone 479-442-6256.
· FLORIDA, where hard-fought efforts to achieve ratification continue unabated, with high hopes for major progress this year. Contact Sandy Oestreich, SandyJOestreich@cs.com, phone 727-393-0932, website www.RatifyERAflorida.net. Note: The Florida effort is in special need of donations.
· GEORGIA, where there are ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the ERA and build political support for the amendment, contact Idella Moore of 4ERA, info@4ERA/org, phone 678-793-6965, website www.4ERA.org.
· ILLINOIS, where legislator Lou Lang has pre-filed the ERA bill, Hjrca003, in their House of Representatives, and ERA activists are moving ahead vigorously for ERA ratification in this (2009) session. Contact Emily Battin, Emily1@consolidated.net, phone 217-229-3754.
· LOUISIANA, another state where ERA activists have high hopes for ratification soon. Contact Sandra Hufstetler of ERA Louisiana, email@example.com, phone 985-345-3001.
· MISSOURI, where the current effort is focused particularly on working to get pro-ERA women elected to the state legislature, contact Shirley Breeze, chair of the Missouri Women’s Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 314-831-5359, or Mary Mosley, email@example.com, phone 573-642-6354.
August 16, 2008
THE ERA AND THE POLITICAL PARTY PLATFORMS
One of the aims of the Equal Rights Amendment movement is to make achievement of constitutionally guaranteed equal rights for the women one of the specific goals of all American political parties, particularly the parties with the power and popularity to win the presidency. New platforms are prepared in each presidential election year, for approval at their nominating conventions.
So here’s some good news:
Concerted recent efforts by women’s equal rights advocates all around the country (undoubtedly including many readers of this newsletter) have helped bring about the inclusion of the following plank in the first of the two major political party 2008 platforms to be finalized, that of the Democratic Party:
“We are committed to ensuring full equality for women: We reaffirm our support for the Equal Rights Amendment, recommit to enforcing Title IX, and will urge passage of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.”
The platform, including that plank, is expected to be approved at the party convention that will take place August 25 through 28 in Denver, Colorado.
Note: The Democratic Party Platform had included support for the ERA from 1944 through 2000, but in 2004, explicit mention of the ERA was omitted, apparently resulting from an over-eager effort to reduce the length of the platform. While there was a strong ORAL affirmation of the party’s support for the ERA when the platform was read (and approved) at the Democratic convention that year, ERA advocates recognized that assertive campaigning would help ensure not only that the omission from the written platform would not be repeated this year, but also that the wording would be clear and unequivocal.
How was this success accomplished?
There was vigorous outreach to local and national party leaders and officials including convention delegates, superdelegates, and members of the party’s 2008 Platform Committee; testimony by prominent women’s rights leaders at platform hearings; participation in and hosting of a number of the party’s approximately 1,600 open public “platform input meetings” all around the country; outreach to and through the media (including Internet websites and blogs and letters to the editor), and so forth.
And it also surely helped that the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Barack Obama, as well as his main rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, are both US Senators who have shown their support for the ERA by, for example, being co-sponsors of the “start-over” ERA bill in the US Senate.
The Republican Party, with its convention coming up a little later, from Sept. 1 to 4 in Minneapolis-St.Paul, should also of course include support for the ERA in its platform, which is now in preparation. Efforts to make that more likely are currently underway.
Note: Regardless of one’s political party preference (and votes by members of both major parties will of course be necessary to achieve the ERA), it is realistic to recognize that the Republican Party took the ERA out of its platform in 1980 and has declined to restore it to the platform ever since, thus suggesting that it will probably be harder to achieve the the inclusion of the ERA in its platform than has been the case with the Democratic Party. Also, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, has chosen, throughout his years in the Senate, not to co-sponsor the Senate’s ERA bill. Those discouraging facts should nevertheless not deter action. After all, there have been very few advances for women that did not require long and arduous efforts to eliminate entrenched discriminatory policies and practices.
April 7, 2008
CONGRESS ACTING TO HONOR ALICE PAUL, author of Equal Rights Amendment
California Rep. Joe Baca is chief sponsor of a House of Representatives bill of special interest to ERA supporters: HR406. Its purpose is to award a posthumous Congressional Gold Star to the great Alice Paul, who was enormously instrumental in achieving women's suffrage in 1920, and who then authored and worked tirelessly for the ERA for the rest of her life. This bill has 287 cosponsors as of this writing, and will be moved out of committee and onto the floor of the House when it reaches 290 cosponsors. This bill well deserves the support of every ERA supporter on its merits -- and also because its passage would bring favorable attention to the ERA cause.
April 2, 2008:
PROGRESS IN THE NOT-YET RATIFIED STATES, THE "3-STATE" STRATEGY:
With only three additional state ratifications of the Equal Rights Amendment needed to achieve the required 38 (three-fourths of the 50 states), there is recent promising progress toward ratification in FOUR of the not-yet-ratified states:
ILLINOIS: The ERA ratification bill, HJRCA0002, was recently passed by the Illinois House Judiciary Committee, by a commanding 8-3 vote. It is now on the floor of the House and awaiting a vote: Prospects look promising for passage! If and when it passes, the bill (HJRCA0002), will go to the Senate, where it will be assigned to a committee. ERA activists in Illinois are working hard to ensure passage in the House, and to build support in the Senate. To help, contact Emily Battin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 217-229-3754.
FLORIDA: On April 1 (2008), Sandy J. Oestreich, head of the Florida Equal Rights Alliance, reported that she and other ERA enthusiasts (plus one anti-equal rights adherent) spoke at the ERA ratification hearings held by the Florida Legislature Senate Judiciary Committee. The good news: a resounding 8-3 vote for ERA ratification. The next step will probably be either to assign the bill to another committee for consideration, or to release it directly to the floor of the Senate. Meanwhile, substantial progress is being made in lining up more co-sponsors and supporters of the ratification bill among members of the Florida House and Senate, which, as of this writing, continues in session in Tallahassee. For up-to-date developments and tips as to how to help, visit www.ratifyflorida.net or contact Sandy Oestreich, e-mail SandyJOestreich@cs.com, telephone 727-393-0932.
ARKANSAS: This state came very close to ratifying the ERA in 2007. Arkansas ERA, headed by Berta Seitz, is meeting with each new legislative candidate to give them information on the ERA, answer their questions, and ask them for a commitment of support. They have asked for, and received, enthusiastic support for ERA ratification by the Chair of the Arkansas Democratic Party. They also plan to meet with Arkansas Governor Beebe and the speakers of the house and senate, to seek their support as well. To help, contact Berta Seitz, e-mail email@example.com, telephone 479-442-6256.
MISSOURI: About thirty women and men wearing ERA pins were in Missouri's Capitol on March 11 (2008), talking with the state senate sponsor of the ERA, and lobbying to increase support for the ERA ratification bill, now in committee. Their actions brought fine local press and TV coverage, all of which of course is helpful to the cause. While the ERA ratification bill is not expected to have sufficient votes to pass in the current legislature, vigorous efforts continue, through Missouri ERA's Political Action Committee, to elect additional pro-ERA legislators this fall. Missouri residents who would like to help can contact Missouri ERA's Mary Mosley, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 573-642-6354.
NOTE: If and when the first of the above four states successfully ratifies the ERA, it will undoubtedly add substantial energy to ratification drives in the other three. It will also serve to energize ERA activism in the remaining not-yet ratified states: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.
CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT FOR THE 3-STATE STRATEGY:
New Jersey Rep. Rob Andrew's H.Res.757 proposes a congressional resolution, "Requiring the House of Representatives to take any legislative action necessary to verify the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the Constitution when the legislatures of an additional three States ratify the Equal Rights Amendment." The bill now has 5 co-sponsors: Rick Boucher (VA), Steve Cohen (TN), Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX), Carolyn Maloney (NY), and Linda Sanchez (CA). To help, ERA supporters can contact their representatives and urge them to co-sponsor the bill.
UPDATE ON THE "START-OVER" STRATEGY IN CONGRESS:
This strategy starts the amending process over, rather than relying on the 3-state strategy being able to overcome possible legal challenges by forces opposing equal rights for women.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chief House sponsor of the ERA (which she renamed the Women's Equality Amendment), H.J.Res.40, in the House of Representatives, has gathered 202 co-sponsors thus far. When she reintroduced the ERA at a rousing jam-packed meeting on Capitol Hill on March 27, 2007, the head of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, pledged to initiate hearings on the ERA as soon as possible: Such hearings would be the first step preceding a Judiciary Committee vote that, if successful, would result in the resolution going to the floor of the House for a vote. Unfortunately, however, due to many other issues the committee has had to deal with, the long-awaited ERA hearings have been repeatedly postponed. It is not yet known whether ERA hearings will be scheduled before the current 110th Congress steps down at the end of this year (2008).
What you can do to help: Go to http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HJ00040:@@@P for a list of the names and congressional districts of the 202 members of the House who are now cosponsors of H.J.Res.40. If your representative is a cosponsor, contact her/him with your thanks. If she/he is NOT a co-sponsor, contact and ask her/him to become a cosponsor in order to support full constitutionally-guaranteed equal rights that at least half of their constituents, women, are now denied. Make it clear that you plan to vote in November, and that you consider her/his co-sponsorship an important factor in whom you decide to vote for!
IN THE SENATE:
Sen. Edward Kennedy is chief sponsor of the equivalent ERA resolution in the SENATE, S.J. Res. 10, which currently has 24 cosponsors. To help: As with the House representatives, contact your senators who are current cosponsors of S.J.Res.10, and thank them for their support, on behalf of all their female constituents. If they are NOT cosponsors, urge them to sign on. (Go to http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:SJ00010:@@@P for the list.)
If either of your senators is up for re-election in November, you can, similarly, make it clear that her/his co-sponsorship will be important in your voting decision.
IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PROCESS:
ERA supporters surely want to have our next US president support and encourage adding the ERA to our Constitution. While the president has no formal constitutional role to play in amending the Constitution (she/he does not "sign" it nor have the power to veto it), she or he can of course play a major role in supporting and encouraging both ERA passage by Congress and ratification by the states.
Supporters of the ERA cause surely consider support for the ERA a significant factor in their choice of whom to vote for. Since all three remaining candidates as of this writing are current members of the US Senate, it should be noted that Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are co-sponsors of the Equal Rights Amendment Senate Resolution (S.J.Res.10); Sen. John McCain is not.
The presidential nominees will also be instrumental in determining whether the ERA is endorsed in their official party platforms that will be formally adopted at the nominating conventions this summer. Note: national platform committees are usually made up of one representative from each state. How you can help: Contact your party's state committee to obtain the name and contact information of their representative, and contact and urge her/him to ensure that equal rights for women, including strong and explicit support for the ERA, is included in the party's platform. There is no excuse for a major political party NOT to support fully equal rights for all citizens without regard to whether they are male or female—and achievement of the ERA deserves, and will require, the support of both Democrats and Republicans.
August 4, 2007:
Update on action in not-yet-ratified states
Advances in human rights have never been easy to achieve, and completing the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment is no exception. All too often, success or failure comes down to the actions of just one or two legislators at critical moments. Here's what's happening now:
State legislatures are now in summer recess, and some of them will meet only briefly in the fall. Earlier this year, however, two states - Arkansas and Louisiana - came much closer to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment than they ever had before. Meanwhile, Florida ERA activists continue their very vigorous campaigning, and there is also active campaigning in Illinois, Missouri, and Arizona. Details follow.
In spite very strong efforts by ERA Arkansas, state units of BPW, AAUW, League of Women Voters, NOW, the Arkansas Education Association, all the Arkansas constitutional officers from governor and lieutenant governor on down, and many members of the Arkansas legislature, ERA ratification was blocked by a February 7, 2007 tie vote in the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee. The tie vote was attributed to last-minute vote switches by legislators all too vulnerable to ancient but still utilized scare tactics of groups that, for their own reasons, continue to oppose equal rights for female citizens.
Since the Arkansas legislature meets only on alternate years, the next opportunity will be in 2009. To help make the ERA happen in Arkansas in 2009, contact Berta Seitz of ERA Arkansas, e-mail Berta.Seitz@att.net, telephone 479-442-6256.
As reported by Sandra Hufstetler of the Louisiana ERA Coalition:
'HCR4, relevant to ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, failed to pass out of the [Louisiana House] committee hearing on May 15, 2007, by a 4-5 vote - just two votes short."
"Following the viewing of a public service announcement produced by Louisiana Business and Professional Women that featured a woman veteran requesting equal consideration under the law by the country she so ably served, Representative Monica Walker, author of the resolution, introduced the background of the Equal Rights Amendment since its passage by Congress in 1972. Roberta Madden, Co-coordinator of the Louisiana Coalition for the Equal Rights Amendment, spoke of the need for true recognition of women citizens as full partners in our nation and for providing strict scrutiny in sex discrimination cases. Dr. Anne Taylor, Louisiana President for the American Association of University Women, discussed the 14th and 19th Amendments and what the ERA is not; and pointed out that men, too, would benefit from the ERA. Opponents from a coalition including Louisiana Right-to-Life, Family Forum, and other "conservative" organizations showed up in a large group to testify against the bill. The question was called. The vote of the committee members was four FOR but five against.'
"In spite of our disappointment with the results, we have learned a lot about what concerns need to be addressed. We also learned that our opposition is well organized and that they can guarantee a good turnout for the committee meeting. We will need to be equally organized if we are to bring the legislation before the House again."
To help, contact the Louisiana Coalition for the Equal Rights Amendment: Sandra Hufstetler, e-mail email@example.com, tel. 985-345-3001, or Roberta Madden, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, tel.225-315-0303 (day) or 225-344-3630 (evening).
In Florida's legislative session that ended in May (2007) progress was made with the ERA ratification bills led by chief Senate sponsor Sen. G\wen Margolis and chief House sponsor Rep. Joyce Cusack. Florida Equal Rights Alliance head Sandy Oestreich reports that while strong campagining and support helped bring about a "good shot at getting it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee", it was never placed on the agenda because the House Speaker Marco Rubio had declined to refer the bill to any house committee. Florida ERA campaigners have already launched bold new strategies in preparation for the next Florida legislative session. To contact Sandy Oestreich, e-mail SandyJOestreich@cs.com, or telephone her at 727-393-0932 or 727-8904-3052; websitewww.RatifyERAflorida.net.
Rep. Lou Lang reintroduced the ERA bill (HJRCA0002) in the Illinois House and it was read in full on January 19 and assigned to the Rules Committee, that has not yet taken action. The legislature is currently recessed for the summer. To help, contact Emily Battin, e-mail email@example.com, telephone 217-229-3754.
ERA ratification bills were filed in both the House (chief sponsor Rep. Mike Talboy) and the Senate (chief sponsor Joan Bray), in the Missouri legislative session that ended in May (2007). The Senate held a hearing, but the bill did not get out of committee; there was no hearing in the House. ERA ratification efforts continue. To help, contact: Shirley Breeze, Chair, Missouri Women's Network: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 314-831-5359.
Arizona's ERA ratification bill was reintroduced, but was not referred to a committee. Plans are to try again next year. To help, contact: Kathie Kelly, e-mail ERACampaignAZ@aol.com, telephone 602-690-1038.
August 3, 2007:
Update on the ERA in Congress
“Start-over” ERA resolutions were reintroduced in Congress on March 27, 2007, H.J.Res.40 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (in the House) and S.J.Res.10 by Sen. Edward Kennedy (in the Senate). It was announced that House hearings on the ERA will be held – the first to take place in many years. As of this date, however, the hearings have not yet been scheduled. (The “start-over” ERA resolutions, if and when passed by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress, will require ratification by a full 38 states, without regard to whether a state had previously ratified the Amendment as passed by Congress in 1972.) H.J.Res.40 has 202 cosponsors thus far; S.J.Res.10 has 24 cosponsors.
Rep. Robert Andrews, chief sponsor of the 3-state strategy ERA resolution in the House – the resolution in support of the 3-state strategy to achieve the ERA -- is currently gathering initial co-sponsors and has not yet reintroduced it.
You can HELP these resolutions progress toward passage by urging your congressional Representative and Senators to support them. To find out whether they are already among the cosponsors, go to http://thomas.loc.gov, type the bill number (e.g., H.Res.40), in the "search bill text" box, check "Bill Number" (not "Word/Phrase"), and then click "search." Then click on "Bill Summary & Status," then "Cosponsors." That will bring you to an alphabetized list of the cosponsors of that bill.
April 13, 2007:
ERA newly on the move!
A significant boost to pro-ERA efforts burst on the scene at the National Council of Women’s Organization’s Women’s Equality Summit and Congressional Action Day, in Washington DC:
The Summit, on March 26, drew some 400 participants: leaders of NCWO’s over 210 member organizations, plus many members of the very active NCWO Younger Women’s Task Force. ERA activists in attendance, including your editor, were greatly cheered that so many of the day’s dynamic speakers -- women’s movement leaders and members of Congress – spoke strongly and optimistically of the importance of achieving the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution. A breakout roundtable session, “The ERA and Younger Women: An Interactive Dialogue,” attracted so many younger women and ERA veterans that the session had to be moved to a larger room – which still required window-sill and floor seating. The very constructive discussion, and the resulting coming together across generational lines, demonstrate that the ERA cause is beginning to resonate for young feminist women in a way that had recently seemed somewhat elusive.
The Congressional Action Day, March 27, was on Capitol Hill, with fiery addresses by numerous members of the bipartisan Congressional Women’s Caucuses of the House and Senate including Senators Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton, with the pressing need the ERA prominent among the many vital issues discussed. The day culminated in a press conference at which the reintroduction in Congress of the “start-over” ERA resolutions were announced before an enthusiastic crowd. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, to audience cheers, reintroduced her resolution, H.J.Res.40, with 193 initial cosponsors. Then she, along with the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, and the chair of its subcommittee on the Constitution, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, announced, to more cheers, that for the first time in decades, House hearings will be held on the ERA.
Sen. Edward Kennedy was tied up with a key Senate vote and could not attend the press conference, but his Senate “start-over” ERA resolution, S.J.Res.10, with 23 initial cosponsors, was also reintroduced.
To see if your congressional representatives are cosponsors of the bills, go to http://thomas.loc.gov and search for the bill by number -- “H.J.Res.40” or “S.J.Res.10”, then click on “Bill Summary and Status,” and then on “cosponsors.” If they are cosponsors, a “thank-you” from constituents such as you will reinforce their commitment. If they are not yet cosponsors, you can help the ERA cause by contacting them and urging them to cosponsor.
NOTE: Rep. Robert Andrews, chief sponsor of the “3-state strategy” ERA resolution, is currently signing up Representatives to be initial cosponsors, and plans to reintroduce it soon.
Since the Summit, there has been far more – and far more well-informed, accurate, and therefore helpful -- media coverage for the ERA than its proponents have been accustomed to seeing in recent years:
The Washington Post, on March 28, had a good article on the congressional reintroductions of the ERA. This was followed by good releases by the Associated Press and other news syndicates, and articles in major newspapers all over the country, from Boston to Georgia, from Connecticut to Los Angeles, from Washington State to New Jersey, and more, plus fine coverage on popular websites such as WomensENews and MSmagazine.com.
In addition, an unconventional breakthrough in the media attention to the ERA occurred on cable TV’s Comedy Central Channel late night “Colbert Report” on March 29: Satirical comedian Stephen Colbert called attention to the new congressional push for the Equal Rights Amendment and then made fun of the silly anti-ERA argument that the ERA will lead to unisex bathrooms!
Note: While most of the news coverage, understandably, highlighted the reintroductions of the “start-over” ERA resolutions (which would require passage by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress plus fresh ratifications by 38 or more states), many also mentioned, with reasonable accuracy and favorability, the three-state strategy that the ERA Campaign Network particularly focuses on (while also cooperating with and encouraging the “start-over” approach). Proponents of both strategies generally have the constructive attitude of “Hey, whatever works, works!”
March 10, 2007:
North Dakota reaffirms its 1975 ratification of the ERA
On February 13, 2007, The North Dakota House of Representatives unanimously passed a historic resolution recommitting their state to the Equal Rights Amendment that it had successfully passed in 1975. Their Senate followed, completing passage of the resolution by a near unanimous vote on March 9, 2007.
The text of Concurrent Resolution (HCR3032) reads as follows:
“A concurrent resolution acknowledging the actions of the 44th Legislative Assembly of North Dakota and the sponsors of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4007 affirming the equal application of the United States Constitution to all citizens through the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment; declaring Friday, March 9, 2007, North Dakota Equal Rights Amendment Recognition Day; and encouraging a recommitment to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in all states and final passage in Congress.
“WHEREAS, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment provides "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 Congress sent the Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification on March 22, 1972; and
“WHEREAS, on February 11, 1975, North Dakota became the 34th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, due to the efforts of a broad spectrum of supporters, including the Coordinating Council for the Equal Rights Amendment, the 44th Legislative Assembly, and Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4007 sponsors Senators Redlin and Lips and Representatives Homuth and Pyle; and
“WHEREAS, many women worked all of their lives for a constitutional amendment affirming that women had equal rights and protections under the United States Constitution, including Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony; and
“WHEREAS, 35 of the needed 38 states ratified the Equal Rights Amendment and without ratification the United States Constitution fails to guarantee female citizens equal rights and equal justice;
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF NORTH DAKOTA, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN:
“That the Sixtieth Legislative Assembly acknowledges the actions of the 44th Legislative Assembly of North Dakota and the sponsors of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 400716 affirming the equal application of the United States Constitution to all citizens through the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment; and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sixtieth Legislative Assembly declares Friday, March 9, 2007, North Dakota Equal Rights Amendment Recognition Day; and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sixtieth Legislative Assembly encourages a recommitment to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in all states and final passage in Congress; and
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State forward copies of this resolution to the Governor, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, and to each member of the North Dakota Congressional Delegation.”
January 29, 2007:
Not-yet-ratified ARKANSAS: Looking good for ratification in 2007!
Leaders and members of ERA Arkansas, Arkansas units of BPW, AAUW, League of Women Voters and NOW; the Arkansas Education Association; allthe Arkansas constitutional officers from governor and lieutenant governor on down; many members of the Arkansas legislature; and many other Arkansans passionate to have their state be the next one to ratify the ERA, have been hard at work. They filled the rotunda of the State House in Little Rock for an enthusiastic ERA rally on January 24, with many prominent speakers. Their hopes (and the hopes of ERA supporters all over the country) are now high that the Arkansas legislature will be successful in ratifying the ERA within the next few weeks.
The ratification bills were filed in both houses of the legislature on January 24, by Rep. Lindsley Smith and Sen. Sue Madison. As of today, there are 68 cosponsors of the ratification resolution in the House, with only 51 votes required to pass. In the Senate, there are 11 cosponsors (plus three more pledged votes) thus far, with more expected soon; 18 votes will be needed to pass.