More than 40 years after the Equal Rights Amendment was first passed by the U.S. Congress, an Illinois state senator is taking another crack at getting her colleagues in Springfield to adopt the provision that would enshrine in the U.S. Constitution the idea that rights can’t be abridged on account of sex.
Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said the proposed amendment is still relevant today given the ongoing debates about equal pay, abortion rights and other issues on which women are fighting for equality.
And she said it’s symbolically important to “get Illinois off the list” of 15 states that have not yet adopted the proposed amendment. The other holdouts are mostly traditionally more conservative states in the southern and western parts of the country. […]
The amendment appeared to die in 1982 after only 35 states passed it by the deadline that Congress set after adopting it in 1972. That was three short of the 38 needed to amend the Constitution. Supporters of the amendment are now pushing a “three state solution,” arguing the 1982 deadline should not apply. If three more states pass it, the supporters will try to make the case that there is no need for the U.S. Congress to start the amendment process over.
Steans has tried to pass the amendment a few times before, without success.
* The text…
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.
* A little history…
The ERA was introduced into every Congress between 1923 and 1972, when it was passed and sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit in the ERA’s proposing clause was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, the ERA had been ratified by 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution.
It was a very big deal here. Before my time, but stories still abound.
* The Question: Should the Illinois General Assembly ratify the ERA, even if it is too late? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.