Patricia Arquette, Alyssa Milano Join Congressional Equal Rights Amendment Leaders to Launch Renewed Fight for 116th Congress

Jan 29, 2019
Press Release

Rep. Maloney Speaks at Event Calling for an Equal Rights Amendment

Credit: Phi Nguyen

Washington, DC – Congresswomen Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), House leaders on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), were joined today by actors and activists Patricia Arquette and Alyssa Milano, the ERA Coalition, the National Women’s Law Center, the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, Virginia General Assembly Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, and other Members of Congress to launch a new fight in the 116th Congress to ratify the ERA to the U.S. Constitution.

Rep. Maloney and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) are the House sponsors of the ERA that would restart the amendment ratification process and Rep. Speier is the House sponsor of the joint resolution to remove the deadline to ratify the ERA. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a companion Senate joint resolution to remove the deadline.

“On multiple fronts today – in the White House and in State houses across our county –women’s hard-fought rights and the progress that we’ve made over the course of a century are under attack,” said Rep. Maloney. “And it’s happening, in part, because our Constitution does not contain the word ‘women.’ Because it does not guarantee our equal rights. So, we need to make it clear, that equal means equal. To do that, we must spell it out in the Constitution: E-R-A. This will make a world of difference to all our children. Shouldn’t we eliminate any doubt that men and women are equal? Shouldn’t equality be the default, the inalienable truth? Now is the time. We are demanding a seat at the table and we are ready to make equality a reality.”

“We’re on the precipice of a historic moment. Women are no longer required to have a man co-sign to get a credit card or prohibited from serving on a jury, but sex and gender discrimination persists. We see if in the form of pay inequality, pregnancy discrimination, the pink tax, and the rampant plague of sexual harassment and violence in our boardrooms, breakrooms, classrooms, and on the battle field,” said Rep. Speier. “If equality is truly an American value it’s time for our founding document to reflect that value. With only one state needed to fulfill the requirement set in 1972, the time is ripe for ratification of the ERA. IT’s time to reset the clock so that women will finally be equal to men under the eyes of the law.”

“Discrimination in any form is never acceptable. We will continue our bipartisan campaign and as we work to ensure this historic amendment has a fair shot at being enshrined into our constitution – not only for the thousands of women who have been discriminated against, but for the next generation of women,” Rep. Reed said. “We care about being a constant advocate to ensure change and consistent enforcement of anti-discrimination law, and we would like to thank Rep. Maloney and Rep. Speier for their unwavering commitment to this issue.”

“Since the inception of our country women were left out of the Constitution – intentionally and for the ensuing centuries women in America have been fighting for their full equal rights in the American Constitution. We have waited long enough,” said Patricia Arquette. “This is 2019, and it is time for the United States of America to afford women the equal rights they have been denied in their own nation for so long. It is time we step into our new future - the fair and equitable future American women have long been waiting for. We are done waiting. I thank Representatives Speier, Maloney and Reed for their bipartisan leadership on this issue.”

“Passing the ERA would put the full weight of our Constitution behind women’s equality, behind fighting sexual discrimination and harassment, for equal pay for equal work, and against policies that harm women just because they are women,” said Alyssa Milano. “We supported each other when we held men accountable by saying Me Too and Times Up – now today, we say ‘the time is now.’ The time is now to pass the ERA so that everyone in this country has the opportunity to reach their full potential. I want to thank Representatives Maloney and Speier for their steadfast fight for the ERA. I’m proud to join them in this fight.”

What we are doing here today will give every girl and woman in America a chance at an equal future, something denied now because the Constitution does not recognize the equal rights of women,” said Carol Jenkins, Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition. “The ERA Coalition applauds the Congresswomen for their consistent--and persistent--quest for equality. Removal of the deadline is the first fair thing to do as we approach ratification.”

“Including equality based on sex as part of the U.S. Constitution will highlight to everyone in this nation and beyond that the fight for women’s rights must continue until these rights are a reality for all of us, including for women of color, immigrant women, poor women, women with disabilities and LGBTQ individuals, said Sunu Chandy, Legal Director, National Women’s Law Center.”

“Generations of women have fought to achieve constitutional equality through an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” said Eleanor Smeal, President, Feminist Majority. “The movement to ratify the ERA has maintained increasing momentum because women continue to be fed up with the discrimination faced in schools, in the workplace, in our homes, and on the streets. Congress has a duty to correct a historic mistake and remove the arbitrary deadline in the preamble of the ERA. The states never voted on the deadline, and there can be no time limit on the pursuit of equality and justice.”

"It’s 2019 and women are still not granted equal rights in the Constitution. This is unacceptable and in opposition to one of the key principles of our country’s democracy, which is equality for all women,” said Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW). “This is why our organization has made ratification of the ERA a top priority and why we will continue to support the efforts of our allies Representatives Maloney and Speier, who continue to use their platforms and their voices to serve as champions for all women’s rights.”

“I applaud Congresswomen Maloney and Speier for their years of steadfast work to enshrine our fundamental rights in the Constitution,” said Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, Virginia General Assembly. “We have the rare opportunity to bring this country one step closer to fulfilling its promise of equality for all. As the state legislator sponsoring the resolution to make Virginia the final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and as one of the first women to graduate from the Virginia Military Institute, it is an honor to lend my voice in support of the Congresswomen's efforts.”