Schumer sets up vote aimed at adding Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is teeing up a vote this week on a resolution aimed at adding the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution, more than a century after it was first introduced in Congress. “In this ominous hour of American history, the Equal Rights Amendment has never been as necessary and urgent as it is today,” Schumer said in a press release on Monday evening. “Recent events like the Supreme Court’s horrible Dobbs decision, uncertainty with critical care drugs like Mifepristone, and a slew of proposed state actions have women in this country facing an uncertain future.” A new amendment to the Constitution must first be passed by both houses of Congress and then ratified by at least 38 states. The ERA passed the House and Senate in 1972, in a push led by feminist icons like lawyer Gloria Steinem, but lawmakers tacked on a provision that said it must meet the 38-state threshold within seven years. The ERA was only ratified by 35 states by that time. CATHOLIC BISHOPS SOUND ‘ALARM’ ON EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT, SAYING IT WILL HURT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM Three more states – Nevada, Illinois and Virginia – ratified the ERA in 2017, 2018 and 2020, respectively. Now, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Ben Cardin, D-Md., are working on a bipartisan resolution that would remove what Schumer’s press release called the “arbitrary deadline” for ratification in the original bill that passed decades ago. “We are here to stand united, and inch by inch restore, fight for, and expand women’s rights so that the women of today and the generations of tomorrow will not know a future with less access than their mothers had,” Schumer said. “The ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment would finally provide a constitutional remedy against sex discrimination – pushing our country one step closer to finally achieving equal justice under the law. It has been exactly 100 years since the first ERA was proposed in Congress. American women cannot afford to wait 100 more.” ERA: WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT Senators are hoping that passing the resolution that eliminates the seven-year deadline would allow the ERA to be added to the Constitution and enshrine equal rights on the basis of sex in the nation’s founding document. However, critics of the ERA argue that it is unnecessary given the protections bestowed by the 14th Amendment and other more targeted laws, like the Equal Pay Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act. 2020: DOJ UNDERCUTS EFFORTS TO REVIVE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT, HEARTENING PRO-LIFE GROUPS The Senate revisited the legislation for the first time in almost 40 years when the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on it last month. The bipartisan resolution still has an uphill battle in the chamber, where it would need the support of several more Republicans in order to reach the supermajority needed to advance the measure. However, the GOP, and conservatives in particular, have for the most part been opposed to its passage.
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