This Mother's Day, Congress Should Give Mom's Full Equality

May 9, 2002
Press Release

Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney announced that 206 of her colleagues in the House of Representatives have co-sponsored the Women's Equality Amendment, the highest total in any Congress in 20 years. At a bipartisan press conference on Capitol Hill, Maloney said the best gift Congress could give Mother's on Sunday is the gift that keeps on giving - constitutional equality.

"This Mother's Day, we are calling for men and women, sons and daughters in Congress to give the women in their life the gift that keeps on giving -- EQUALITY. I am proud to stand here today with my colleagues as we announce the 207 cosponsors on the Women's Equality Amendment, the ERA -- 207 Members of Congress who have pledged to give their Mother's Equality this Sunday.

The last state to ratify the 19th Amendment, that gave women the right to vote, was Tennessee, on August 18th, 1919. Harry Burn, who entered the chamber on the day of the vote on the side

of suffrage opponents, instead pulled out a telegram that his mother had sent him the night before. It read, "Vote for Suffrage and don't keep them in doubt." Burn voted to ratify that day. By the margin of his single vote, our Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote.

Now, more than 80 years later, women still struggling to secure full constitution equality over and above the right to vote. Indeed, if this Congress and this President were bold enough to truly honor American women, we could set aside the piecemeal remedies of legislation and send to the states The Equal Rights Amendment for their ratification.

The American Constitution does not guarantee full equality under the law for both men and women, just men. In fact, our Constitution is the only written foundation document of any world democracy with does not grant equal protection for women. The simple fact 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 or legislature or judge could roll back the gains women have secured in the last half century without risking the ultimate Constitutional penalty, and that is why we need the Equal Rights Amendment."