Alyssa Milano Joins Rep. Maloney, Rep. Speier, ERA Coalition to Call for Equal Rights Amendment

Jun 6, 2018
Press Release
Group Highlights the Need for the ERA at the Capitol with Shadow Hearing

Photo Credit Phi Nguyen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With 37 of the 38 states needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), lead House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment (H.J. Res. 33), joined with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), actress and activist Alyssa Milano, the ERA Coalition, and women’s rights advocates to address the urgent need to ratify this long-overdue amendment.

Rep. Maloney hosted a shadow hearing with witnesses Alyssa Milano; Carol Robles-Román, ERA Coalition Co-President; and Jessica Lenahan, SCOTUS Castle Rock v. Gonzales plaintiff and domestic violence survivor.

“Today, we’re saying Time’s Up on inequality. We are coming together to demand change, to demand equality, and to demand that women’s rights are enshrined in the Constitution,” said Rep. Maloney. “At a time when #MeToo has become a rallying cry across the nation, when there are outcries in every corner of this country - for equal pay, equal opportunity, equal treatment and an end to the casual culture of harassment and assault in practically every sector of society – we have opportunity as never before to seize on this moment and make lasting change by finally ratifying the ERA.”

“Today’s hearing strikes at the heart of the inequity that has allowed employers to discriminate, predators to commit sexual violence, and domestic violence abusers to terrorize their victims. That’s because at the core of all of these injustices is the fact that women are not equal to men in the Constitution,” said Rep. Speier. “Now is the time to the pass the 24-word Equal Rights Amendment, and truly make women and men equal under the law.”

"Working together with Congresswoman Maloney, Congresswoman Speier and the ERA Coalition has been a powerful experience,” said Alyssa Milano. “These amazing women (and men) who share my passion for making sure gender is never a limitation for women are so committed to the cause. I applaud Congresswoman Maloney for refusing to take no for an answer and for having persevered with this fight for so many years. I am honored to play my part and grateful that the #MeToo movement has helped women to find their voices, to speak out, to insist on being heard and to demand equality. The time for the Equal Rights Amendment is now.”

“The ERA's need has never been so evident,” said Carol Robles-Román. “The #MeToo movement and Times Up makes this crystal clear: women are increasingly coming forward in record numbers, many for the first time after years of solitary trauma due to of sexual assault & harassment. We see so clearly why Constitutional protections against sex discrimination is needed now.”

“I think we have finally reached the tipping point and will soon see the ERA in our Constitution, in great part thanks to #MeToo,” said Jessica Neuwith, co-president of the ERA Coalition

“We need an ERA so that women are not treated as second class or even third class citizens, said Jessica Lenahan. “We need an ERA so that anyone who suffers what I have suffered will at least have a path to justice.”

“We’re on a roll with millions of women participating in marches all over the country, with the Me Too movement, with ratification of the 36th state in 2017 and now Illinois in 2018. We see a pathway to final ratification of the ERA which is needed now more than ever,” said Eleanor Smeal, President and Co-Founder of Feminist Majority. “A victory for all women and girls.”

“Women have been working for decades for true equality. Now is the time! No more excuses. You’re either with us or against us,” said National Women’s Political Caucus President Donna Lent. It’s not enough to just be grateful to those members of Congress who have signed onto Congresswoman Maloney's bill. Although we appreciate them, we need to highlight those members who have declined to sign onto the bill.  If that’s the position they’re going to take, we want every person, every family to know that they do not truly stand with women. Doing a photo op for women’s history month or visiting the Elizabeth Cady Stanton museum is not enough! Time is up!” 

Earlier this year, Congresswoman Maloney requested that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) hold a hearing on the ERA but received no response. Rep. Maloney has reintroduced the ERA 11 times. In 2017, Nevada ratified the ERA and just last week Illinois became the 37th state to ratify. To be adopted, a Constitutional amendment must be ratified by 38 states.

The Equal Rights Amendment would prohibit denying or abridging equal rights under the law by the United States or any state because of sex. Currently, the only right that the Constitution explicitly guarantees women is the right to vote.  There has not been a Congressional hearing on the ERA since 1984.