May 21, 2003 Issues: Equal Rights Amendment

Washington, DC - Today, in response to news that the Illinois House of Representatives passed the Equal Rights Amendment for equality of men and women, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY) - the lead sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. House of Representatives - made the following statement:
"Passage of the long sought equality amendment for men and women by the Illinois House is cause for celebration. Hopefully today's bold action by the Illinois House will be followed quickly by the Illinois Senate, because the nation still awaits the full Constitutional guarantee of equal rights for men and women."

In reintroducing the E.R.A. in Congress this March 2003, Congresswoman Maloney said,
"The ERA is gaining momentum, and 2003 should be its year to come of age. Most Americans believe that the Constitution already makes it clear that men and women are entitled to equal rights, and when they learn it does not, nine out of ten Americans believe it should. The simple fact is that equal protection for men is guaranteed by the Constitution, and equal rights for women are secured at the whim of politicians and jurists. Any Congress, legislature, or judge could roll back the gains women have secured in the last half century."

Rep. Maloney continued, "We owe it not only to our daughters, our sisters, and our mothers - we owe it to our sons, our brothers and our fathers to finally guarantee equality. When a woman suffers inequality, her entire family suffers. Eighty years is long enough."

For more background, and a list of the current cosponsors for the national E.R.A., please go to: 

. Currently the E.R.A. has 203 bipartisan cosponsors, nearly as many as were gained in the full session of 107th Congress, which was the highest number of cosponsors in 20 years.

. Over thirty years have elapsed since the Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment. This historic Constitutional Amendment was intended to ensure quality for women and men in all areas of society. When Congress passed the ERA in 1972, it provided that the measure had to be ratified by the necessary number of states (38) within 7 years. (The deadline was later extended to 10 years). The ERA was only three states shy of full ratification at the 1982 deadline.

Text of the Equal Rights Constitutional 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