Got Rights? Why We Need The Equal Rights Amendment

Got Rights?

Did you know that women still don’t have equal rights under the law in the United States of America? If you didn’t, you’re not alone! 96% of Americans think men and women should be equal but the problem is that 72% of them think women are already equal under our Constitution! Spread this video and spread the word!   Then learn more at http://eraeducationproject.com/.

The Equal Rights Amendment

Author of ERA - Alice Paul
Author of ERA – Alice Paul

July 21, 2013 marked the 90th Anniversary of the Equal Rights Amendment’s (ERA) introduction by American women’s rights hero and ERA author, Dr. Alice Paul. The non-partisan amendment was introduced in both chambers of Congress by Republicans in December, 1923 and finally passed—49 years later—and was then sent out to the states for ratification in 1972.

After nearly a century, Dr. Paul’s vision of full Constitutional equality for U.S. women is yet to be fulfilled because the ERA has been stalled since 1982, just 3 states short of the 38 required to ratify a Constitutional Amendment. This unjust delay is largely due to an arbitrary deadline that was placed on ERA ratification. Nevertheless, Joint Resolutions—SJRES15 and HJRES43—to remove the ERA’s ratification deadline, allowing time to gain the support of 3 of the 15 un-ratified states, was introduced on May 9, 2013 and is gaining momentum in Congress.

As we all know, the war on women is raging in every corner of the United States. From Capitol Hill to State Houses throughout our country attacks are being launched to roll back rights won for women decades ago. That’s why more than ever, ERA ratification is necessary—to ensure right’s under the law for all citizens are enshrined in the Constitution. In April, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) launched the ERA 3 State Strategy Team. This team has successfully used social media to engage both organizations and individuals to support their legislation; there are currently 78 House supporters and 29 Senate supporters. Additionally, they have developed an interactive map to track the progress of the ERA legislation; this map connects the Twitter accounts of the Senators and Reps.

Please help send a clear, collective message to Congress to remove the deadline to ratify the stalled ERA by co-sponsoring Joint Resolutions—SJRES15 and HJRES43.

Ninety (90) years is long enough for American women to wait to be recognized as full citizens in the U.S. Constitution.

There are currently 35 states that have ratified the ERA. We need just three more states for women to have equal rights under our Constitution. We ask you to support our efforts nationwide, particularly in the states that have not yet ratified the ERA: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, N. Carolina, Oklahoma, S. Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. We also ask you to place your full support behind Congressional legislation to eliminate deadlines on the original 1972 ERA. It is time our Constitution protects the rights of women, and women need and deserve active participation in ERA advocacy from the White House.

Map of Ratification
Map of Ratification

The Fourteenth Amendment

“Women don’t have Constitutional Protection against discrimination”                                                      ~ Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Many people think that Women’s Rights are protected under the 14th Amendment, but they are wrong. The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In a published interview in the legal magazine California Lawyer, Scalia said that while the Constitution does not disallow the passage of legislation outlawing such discrimination, it doesn’t itself outlaw that behavior.

The 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause 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.”

In the interview, Justice Scalia says if Congress wants to protect laws that prohibit sex discrimination, that’s up to them. But what if they want to pass laws that discriminate? Then there’s nothing the court will do to protect women from government-sanctioned discrimination against them.

Under Scalia’s doctrine, women could be legally barred from juries, paid less by the government, receive fewer benefits in the armed forces, and be excluded from state-run schools — all things that have happened in the past, before their rights to equal protection were enforced.

Three State Strategy

Women - ERA ribbonThe proposed Three-State Strategy bill does not include the language of the original Equal Rights Amendment. The argument behind this legislation is that if three more states ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, Congress can do all actions necessary to see the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972 is properly ratified. When lobbying your Congressperson, it is important to explain that you feel the resolution is needed in order to allow the ratification process of the past to be currently relevant. You can then point to the following reasons that ERA advocates maintain that the ERA of 1972 is still valid despite the passage of the time limits of 1979 and 1982.

To find your Congressional Legislators, use the interactive map that will identify each by district and party affiliation and even offer some sample tweets

Remember…

  • The ratification process of the Equal Rights Amendment remains open because the time limit is in the proposing clause rather than in the text of the amendment.
  • Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment can is sufficiently contemporaneous following the precedence of the ratification of the 27th Amendment, the Madison Amendment, in 1992 over a 203-year time period
  • The existing 35 state ratifications remain legally valid if three more states ratify the ERA
  • Congress has authority to declare the ERA ratification process valid after the 38th state ratifies.
National Woman's Party on the picket line-Washington, DC 1917.
National Woman’s Party on the picket line-Washington, DC 1917.

The History behind the Equal Rights Amendment

In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John, “In the new code of laws, remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.” John Adams replied, “I cannot but laugh. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems.”

The new Constitution’s promised rights were fully enjoyed only by certain white males. Women were treated according to social tradition and English common law and were denied most legal rights. In general they could not vote, own property, keep their own wages, or even have custody of their children. Read more here.

Text of Equal Rights Amendment

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.

Woman - ERA Power fist 2013

Points to Consider

  • Without ratification, the Equal Rights Amendment is not backed by law and can be changed, modified, or ignored.
  • Without ERA, women (& men) have to fight long, expensive, & difficult legal battles to prove that their rights are equal to those of other sex.
  • Without ERA, women’s equal access to military career ladders & their protection against sex discrimination is not guaranteed
  • Without ERA women have to defend & even give their lives for a Constitution where their rights are still not equal to men’s under the law
  • 96% of U.S. adults say male & female citizens should have equal rights; 88% believe the Constitution should state that; 72% thinks it does.
  • ERA would improve US human rights standing worldwide as other countries affirm legal gender equality even if implementation is imperfect
  • The ERA would protect against a rollback of the significant advances in women’s rights achieved over the past half century
  • The ERA would provide a clearer & stricter judicial standard for cases of sex discrimination – the same level as race discrimination.
  • Ask yourself: Would you rather make $770 or $1000 for performing the exact same task? Equal pay for equal work is not guaranteed without the ERA!

women - rise up ERA header

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Frequently Asked Questions

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution is a political and cultural stain, onto which many people project their greatest hopes or deepest fears about the changing status of women. Since it was first introduced in Congress in 1923, the ERA has been the object of both enthusiastic support and fervid opposition. Interpretations of its intent and potential impact have been varied and sometimes contradictory.

The answers to frequently asked questions about the ERA are provided to encourage evaluation of the amendment on the basis of facts rather than misrepresentations can be found here.

We want EQUALITY for ALL NOW!  There can be no resolution of the challenges faced by our nation, or even a truly representative discussion of them as no solution truly represents the will of the We the People until ALL people have the same rights and protections under the law regardless of their gender.

In addition, it would make a social statement.  We talk philosophically about equal rights. Everyone agrees we are equal, but culturally it is not happening. Ratifying the ERA would go a long way toward changing that culture.

So, what are you waiting for?!  Sign and share the following petitions today:

Vigorously support women’s rights by fully engaging in efforts to ratify the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

Ratification of the Equal Rights AmendmentWomen - Ratify ERA Thelma and Louise

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3 comments on “Got Rights? Why We Need The Equal Rights Amendment

    • Thank you. For some reason the hyperlink would not take (even after several attempts) so I listed the direct link which does work. Other than that, I hope you enjoyed the article.

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