TIMELINE : EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT


                   PHASE ONE : 1921-1972

                   PHASE TWO : 1972-2013


02/16/21 : National Woman's Party cheers for
"absolute equality for women" at
its annual convention after the
slogan is introduced by Nora Blatch
Barney (great-granddaughter of
Elizabeth Cady Stanton) and Sue
White.

12/11/21 : E.R.A.'s "first draft" is drawn up
by a committee of lawyers for
the National Woman's Party :
"No political, civil or legal dis-
abilities or inequalities on account
of sex, or on account of marriage
unless applying alike to both sexes,
shall exist within the United States
or any place subject to their juris-
diction."

10/01/22 : Alice Paul, V. P. of the National
Woman's Party says that the E.R.A.
will be the "paramount issue" in
all political campaigns in the Fall.

07/21/23 : National Woman's Party unani-
mously endorses the E.R.A. at its
annual convention. Streamlined
new wording is : "Men and women
shall have equal rights throughout
the United States and every place
subject to its jurisdiction."

12/10/23 : E.R.A. introduced in Congress by
Senator Charles Curtis and Repre-
sentative Daniel Anthony (nephew
of Susan B. Anthony), both Republi-
cans from Kansas.

02/06/24 : Subcommittee of the House
Judiciary Committee holds first
E.R.A. hearings. The National
Woman's Party speaks for it,
16 groups speak against.

06/15/24 : National Woman's Party asks Demo-
crats to endorse E.R.A. at their
convention.

02/04/25 : Senate Judiciary Subcommittee
holds E.R.A. hearings for the first
time.

01/17/26 : Natiional Woman's Party calls
on President Coolidge (R) and
asks him to support the E.R.A.

09/23/27 : Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent
becomes what may be the first
newspaper to endorse E.R.A.

02/01/29 : National Woman's Party testifies
for E.R.A. before Senate Judiciary
Subcommittee.

01/06/31 : New hearing before Senate
Judiciary Subcommittee.

03/16/32 : Hearing before House Judiciary
Committee.

09/22/32 : Amelia Earhart and a delegation
of National Woman's Party officers
call on President Hoover (R) to ask
his support for the E.R.A.

03/27/33 : Hearing before Senate Judiciary
Subcommittee.

07/08/33 : National Woman's Party draws up
resolution asking support for the
E.R.A. from President Roosevelt (D).

09/08/33 : E.R.A. only way to combat the
discriminations embedded in the
N.R.A., says National Woman's
Party.

09/17/34 : Amelia Earhart writes Anita Pollitzer
of the National Woman's Party
of her support, and willingness to
help "the cause."

06/08/35 : In a speech in Syracuse, N.Y.,
Anita Pollitzer notes that "there
are still about 1,000 old English
Common Law distinctions still in
force in the United States," and
that only the E.R.A. could clear
all of them from the books.

05/30/36 : A subcommittee of the House
Judiciary Committee gives a
favorable recommendation to
the E.R.A., which already has
the support of more than fifty
women's organizations.

03/22/37 : E.R.A. debate at a symposium
arranged by B.P.W. broadcast
on NBC radio network.

05/17/37 : Business Women's Legislative
Council vows "renewed energies"
will be directed to bring about
immediate passage of the E.R.A.

06/16/37 : House Judiciary Subcommittee
favorably reports the E.R.A.

06/23/37 : Senate Judiciary Subcommittee
approves E.R.A.

07/23/37 : B.P.W. endorses E.R.A. at their
national convention. Meanwhile,
the Senate Judiciary Subcom-
mittee reports it to the full
committee.

12/15/37 : Women who picketed the White
House beginning in 1917 as part
of the suffrage fight hold a re-
union in D.C. to help promote
the E.R.A.

01/15/38 : Amelia Earhart Fund For Equal
Rights announced by National
Woman's Party. A year before,
and a few months before her
ill-fated around the world flight,
she sent a telegram and contri-
bution to the N.W.P. enthusias-
tically endorsing its work for the
E.R.A.

02/07/38 : E.R.A. hearings before the
Senate Judiciary Committee go
four days and give all sides a
chance to detail their case.

03/21/38 : Senate Judiciary Committee,
on a tie vote of 9 to 9, reports
the E.R.A. to the full Senate.

11/01/38 : National Woman's Party to sell
seals to be used on letters to
raise money for a "vigorous
campaign for the Equal Rights
Amendment." The seals show
Liberty holding a scale with a
man and woman equally
balanced and the caption
"Equal status for men and
women will balance our Consti-
tution."

06/26/40 : Republicans endorse E.R.A. as
party plank at convention.

05/11/42 : Senate Judiciary Committee
approves E.R.A. by 9 to 3 vote
and sends it on to full Senate. It
now has the support of 16
national organizations as well
as over 300 state and local
groups.

01/26/44 : Vice President Henry Wallace (D)
announces his support for the
E.R.A.

02/04/44 : E.R.A. debated in Eleanor
Roosevelt's apartment in
an attempt to gain her sup-
port.

07/20/44 : Democratic Party endorses
E.R.A. in its platform.

09/21/45 : President Truman (D) reaffirms
his support for E.R.A.

07/18/46 : First E.R.A. debate in full
Senate. The next day the
Senate votes 38 to 35 in
favor - a majority, but not
the 2/3 needed.

01/25/50 : E.R.A. passes the Senate
63 to 19, though with the
"Hayden Rider" authored by
Carl Hayden (D-AZ), which would
exempt "protective legislation."
Thirty Democrats and 33 Re-
publicans voted in favor, with
19 Democrats and no Republi-
cans voting against.

05/26/50 : New York State B.P.W. endorses
the E.R.A.

01/03/53 : E.R.A. introduced to Congress
early this year on the first day
of its session due to the outlook
being brighter than ever. Rep.
St. George (R-NY) notes that the
opponents are less vehement
and that Eleanor Roosevelt
has withdrawn active opposition.

02/25/53 : Twenty-four Senators, including
Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME),
introduce a resolution calling
for an E.R.A.

07/16/53 : E.R.A. (with "Hayden Rider")
passes Senate by 73-11.

11/15/53 : Kits containing info on the E.R.A.
are sent by the B.P.W. to 2,900
Business and Professional
Women's Clubs around the U.S.

01/16/57 : President Eisenhower (R) becomes
the first Chief Executive to
mention the E.R.A. in a message
to Congress. According to Alice
Paul, only four more Senators
and four more Representatives
are needed for the required
two-thirds majority.

09/02/60 : Vice President and Presidential
candidate Richard M. Nixon (R)
sends a message to the National
Woman's Party expressing support
for the E.R.A. He will reiterate his
support in 1963, 1968, and 1972.

10/07/60 : Senator and Presidential candidate
John F. Kennedy (D-MA) strongly
endorses the E.R.A. in a letter to
Emma Guffey Miller of the National
Woman's Party.

10/19/60 : Senator and Vice Presidential
candidate Lyndon Johnson (D-TX)
tells Ms. Miller that he, too, is in
support of the E.R.A.

11/18/67 : N.O.W. endorses the E.R.A.

01/28/68 : The E.R.A. has the support of Presi-
dent Johnson (D), and 61 Senate
sponsors, plus 19 more who say
they will vote for it.

10/24/68 : Vice Presidential candidate Spiro
T. Agnew (R) sends a telegram
to Alice Paul and the National
Woman's Party expressing his
support for the E.R.A.

02/07/69 : The E.R.A. gains support as
ideological opposites Sen.
Eugene McCarthy (D-MN) and
Sen. John Tower (R-TX) agree
to co-sponsor it. A poll shows
68 Senators and 220 House
members in favor, a gain of
73 House votes in just a year.

02/17/70 : Senate hearing on an amend-
ment to give 18-year-olds the
vote is disrupted by 15 women
demanding action on the E.R.A.

05/05/70 : Three days of hearings, including
testimony from Betty Friedan,
held on the E.R.A. by Senate
Judiciary Subcommittee.

08/10/70 : E.R.A. passes House 346-15 and
goes on to the Senate, where it has
83 co-sponsors. There were no
hearings, due to Rep. Emanuel
Celler's (D-NY) refusal to hold them
or take any action during his two
decades chairing the Judiciary
Committee. The full House vote
was finally forced by supporters
gathering a majority of members'
signatures on a petition.

08/17/70 : Sen. Sam Ervin (D-NC) begins a
push for a "rider" to E.R.A. which
would permit laws designed to
"protect" women.

08/21/70 : B.P.W. actively opposes "Ervin
Rider," as do many other
groups, such as N.O.W.

09/09/70 : Three days of E.R.A. hearings
begin in Senate Judiciary
Committee.

09/14/70 : Women members of a number of
major labor unions hold a press
conference in support of E.R.A.

10/07/70 : E.R.A. debated in Senate, but
"riders" to original text bog things
down.

10/12/70 : One "rider" to E.R.A., designed to
thwart school busing for the
purpose of integration, is voted
down by the Senate 57-17.

10/13/70 : The Senate amends the E.R.A.
with two "riders" exempting
women from the draft and
permitting prayer in schools,
thus killing it for this session.

03/24/71 : E.R.A. hearings by a subcommittee
of the House Judiciary Committee.
Among those testifying are Reps.
Bella Abzug (D-NY) and Martha
Griffiths (D-MI).

06/22/71 : House Judiciary Committee adds
"Wiggins Rider" to the E.R.A. Rep.
Wiggins' (R-CA) language would
both exempt women from the
draft and OK any law which
"reasonably promotes the health
and safety of the people." Many
feminist groups and E.R.A.'s chief
sponsor, Rep. Martha Griffiths (D-MI)
vehemently denounce the move.

09/25/71 : A team of Yale lawyers, writing
in the Yale Law Journal, urges
passage of the E.R.A. without
"riders."

10/06/71 : House begins debate on E.R.A.

10/12/71 : House passes E.R.A. by a vote
of 354-23, with no "riders," and
in the form called for by its
proponents. The "Wiggins Rider"
is defeated by 265-87.

10/13/71 : Senate Leader Mike Mansfield
(D-MT) says that due to the press
of business, E.R.A. will not be
considered until next year.

02/16/72 : Senate Judiciary Committee
agrees to vote on E.R.A. by the
end of the month.

02/29/72 : Senate Judiciary Committee
approves E.R.A. by 15-1 and
sends it to full Senate.

03/17/72 : Senate begins debate on E.R.A.
Its chief proponent in Sen. Birch
Bayh (D-IN) and its chief opponent
is Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC). The
Citizens Advisory Commission
on the Status of Women asks
President Nixon to re-endorse
the amendment, which he does
the next day, noting that he was
a co-sponsor in 1951.

03/21/72 : All "riders" to E.R.A. defeated by
huge margins, thus keeping it in
its basic form. The proposal
to exempt women from the draft
is rejected 73-18, to bar them
from combat units 71-18, and
to keep on the books all laws
"which extend protections or
exemptions to women," 75-11.

03/22/72 : E.R.A. approved by Senate 84-8
and sent to states for ratification !


=====================

 

E.R.A. PHASE TWO (1972-2013)

 

=====================


03/22/72 : Hawaii becomes the first state

to ratify, just thirty-two minutes after

E.R.A.’s passage by Congress.

 

10/72 : Phyllis Schlafly founds “Stop

E.R.A.,” the most visible and vocal of

the groups opposing the amendment.

 

11/13/72 : California ratifies, and

becomes the 22nd state to have done so

during 1972.

 

03/15/73 : Nebraska becomes the first

state to try to rescind (take back) its

approval, though previous attempts by

states to rescind their ratifications of

other amendments had never been

recognized by Congress, and do not

appear to be authorized by the

Constitution.

 

03/22/73 : Exactly a year after the

E.R.A. was passed by Congress and

sent to the state legislatures, Wash-

ington becomes the 30th state to

ratify. But it will be the last one to

do so in 1973, as the pace of rati-

fication slows. This is partly due to

the more Progressive states having

already ratified, leaving only the more

conservative ones to work with, as

well as an intense and well-funded

campaign by opponents.

 

10/22/73 : The A.F.L.-C.I.O. endorses the

E.R.A., reversing decades of opposition by

organized labor, which had been concerned

about losing “protective” legislation for

women. Laws that applied only to women

were being struck down by the courts at

this point anyway, and feminists had been

saying for years that these laws were more

“restrictive” than “protective.”

 

01/18/74 : Maine becomes the 31st state to

ratify. The vote in the Senate was 19 to 11 in

favor. The House approved it the day before

by 76 to 68.

 

01/21/74 : Montana becomes the 32nd state

to ratify.

 

02/02/74 : President Nixon reaffirms his

continuing support for the E.R.A.

 

02/07/74 : Ohio ratifies the E.R.A., bringing

the total to 33 state approvals. Since this was

the third approval in less than three weeks,

optimism briefly soared, since only five more

were needed.

 

08/16/74 : The American Bar Association

endorses the E.R.A.

 

08/22/74 : Thirteen days after taking office,

President Gerald Ford re-states his support

for the Equal Rights Amendment.

 

09/04/74 : First Lady Betty Ford says at

her first press conference that she will

campaign for the E.R.A.

 

02/03/75 : North Dakota becomes the 34th

state to ratify. The vote in the House was

52-49. The Senate had approved it earlier

by 28-22.

 

08/17/76 : The Republican Party renews

its long-time support of the E.R.A. :

 

“The Republican Party reaffirms its

support for ratification of the Equal

Rights Amendment. Our party was

the first national party to endorse the

E.R.A. in 1940. We continue to believe

its ratification is essential to insure

equal rights for all Americans. In our

1972 Platform, the Republican Party

recognized the great contributions

women have made to society as home-

makers and mothers, as contributors to

the community through volunteer work,

and as members of the labor force in

careers. The Platform stated then, and

repeats now, that the Republican Party

‘fully endorses the principle of equal rights,

equal opportunities and equal responsi-

bilities for women.’ The Equal Rights

Amendment is the embodiment of this

principle and therefore we support its

swift ratification.”

 

The Democratic Party has supported the

E.R.A. since 1944, and in 1976 said : “We

seek ratification of the Equal Rights

Amendment, to insure that sex discrimi-

nation in all its forms will be ended,

implementation of Title IX, and elimina-

tion of discrimination against women in

all federal programs.”

 

01/18/77 : Indiana becomes the 35th and

final state to ratify. Three more were

still needed for ¾ (38 out of 50.)

 

08/26/77 : The first E.R.A. “Walkathons”

around the country raise $150,000 (equal

to $ 562,273 in December, 2012) for the

National Organization for Women’s E.R.A.

campaign. Walkers got E.R.A. supporters

to pledge a certain amount of money for

each mile they walked.

 

10/20/77 : Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY)

introduces H.J. Res. 638, which would extend

the deadline for ratification from March 22,

1979 to March 22, 1986. The idea came from

two night-school law students, Catherine

Timlin and Alice Bennett. When their re-

search showed that extension would be legal,

they wrote a paper on it, sent it to Toni

Carabillo, who passed it on to N.O.W.

President Eleanor Smeal. Smeal then went

to Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, and the

extension campaign was on.

 

11/02/77 : At hearings on extending the

deadline, Assistant Attorney General John M.

Harmon tells the House Subcommittee on

Civil and Constitutional Rights that in the

opinion of the Justice Department, Congress

has the right to extend the deadline, and that

the Constitution gives states only the right to

ratify an amendment, but not the right to take

back their ratifications.

 

12/01/77 : United Auto Workers announces

that it is joining 64 other national organiza-

tions who support N.O.W.’s economic boycott

of unratified states and will refuse to hold

conventions in states that have not ratified

the E.R.A.

 

02/26/78 : N.O.W.’s National Board declares

a “State of Emergency” and commits virtually

all of the group’s resources to gaining more

state ratifications of E.R.A., and extending the

deadline.

 

03/08/78 : Over 100 national organizations

are now pledged to boycott unratified states

by not holding conventions there.

 

03/20/78 : Acting Gov. Thelma Stovall vetoes

a resolution by the Kentucky Legislature

attempting to rescind its approval of the E.R.A.

 

07/09/78 : A hundred thousand march in

Washington, D.C., in support of extending the

deadline for E.R.A. This event, sponsored by

the National Organization for Women, was the

largest march for women’s rights ever staged

up to that time, far exceeding even the largest

suffrage pageants six decades earlier.

 

08/15/78 : By a vote of 233-189, the House

of Representatives approves extending the

deadline for ratification from March 22, 1979

until June 30, 1982. (Proponents originally

wanted a seven-year extension, but had to

compromise on just under half that time.)

 

10/06/78 : By a vote of 60-36, the Senate

approves extending E.R.A.’s deadline until

June 30, 1982, completing Congressional

action. To show his support, President Carter

signs the resolution on October 20th, even

though his signature is not necessary, since

ratification of Constitutional amendments

is strictly a matter between Congress and the

states.

 

02/21/79 : N.O.W.’s economic boycott of

unratified states was ruled not to be in

violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act

by Judge Elmo B. Hunter, of the United

States District Court for the Western

District of Missouri. Missouri Attorney General

John Ashcroft appealed Hunter’s decision to

the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth

Circuit on April 20th. On March 28, 1980, it

upheld Hunter’s decision and N.O.W.’s right to

promote an economic boycott of unratified

states. On October 6, 1980, the Supreme Court

refused to hear the case, so Hunter’s decision

stood, and the boycott was legal.

 

05/24/79 : On this day, the Equal Rights

Amendment would have had the 38 state

ratifications required for inclusion in the

Constitution if seven State Senators had

switched their votes.

 

In 1975, the Nevada House voted 27-13 in

favor, but the vote in the Senate was 8 for

and 12 against. Had three votes been

switched, the vote would have been 11-9 in

favor, and Nevada would have become the

36th state to ratify.

 

In 1977, North Carolina’s House voted to

ratify, but it came up two votes short in the

Senate. Had those two votes been changed,

North Carolina would have been the 37th to

ratify.  

 

In 1979, the Florida House voted to ratify,

but the vote in the Senate was two short, so

if those two Senators had voted “yes”

instead of “no” on May 24th, Florida would

have become the 38th and final state needed

to ratify.

 

05/10/80 : As many as 90,000 E.R.A.

supporters from all over the country came

to Chicago for a colorful and enthusiastic

rally. Illinois was the only Northern state

that had not ratified, though the measure

had majority support in both House and

Senate.

 

The Illinois Constitution requires a 3/5

majority of all members (not just those

present and voting) in both Houses for

ratification of a Federal Constitutional

amendment. This meant that 107

“yes” votes were needed to pass it in

the House, but any combination of 71

“no” votes and absences would defeat it,

regardless of how many members were

present. In the Senate it required 36 to

pass, but just 25 to defeat.

 

07/15/80 : Despite 12,000 E.R.A.

supporters marching outside the

convention hall, the Republican Party

drops the E.R.A. from its platform. Instead

of the strong endorsement they gave it in

1976 they now said : “We acknowledge the

legitimate efforts of those who support or

oppose ratification of the Equal Rights

Amendment.

 

The Democratic Platform said :

 

“In the 1980s, the Democratic Party commits itself

to a Constitution, economy, and society open to

women on an equal basis with men. The primary route

to that new horizon is ratification of the Equal Rights

Amendment. A Democratic Congress, working with

women's leaders, labor, civil and religious organizations,

first enacted ERA in Congress and later extended the

deadline for ratification. Now, the Democratic Party

must ensure that ERA at last becomes the 27th Amend-

ment to the Constitution. We oppose efforts to rescind

ERA in states which have already ratified the amend-

ment, and we shall insist that at past recessions are

invalid. In view of the high priority which the Democratic

Party places on ratification of the ERA, the Democratic

National Committee renews its commitment not to hold

national or multi-state meetings, conferences, or conven-

tions in states which have not yet ratified the ERA. The

Democratic Party shall withhold financial support and

technical campaign assistance from candidates who do

not support the ERA. The Democratic Party further urges

all national organizations to support the boycott of the

unratified states by not holding national meetings, con-

ferences, or conventions in those states.”

 

08/23-24/80 : Nationwide “Walkathons”

for the E.R.A. raised over $200,000 (equal to

$551,246 in December, 2012)

 

09/22/80 : N.O.W. files a brief in support

of its motion to ask Judge Marion

Callister to recuse (excuse) himself from

deciding the E.R.A. extension/rescission

case.

 

N.O.W. was quite concerned that as a

Regional Representative of the Mormon

Church, outranked by only 70 people in that

4.5 million member organization, he would

clearly not be free of the appearance of bias.

The church had actively and officially opposed

the E.R.A. since October 22, 1976. He rejected

the call to recuse himself on February 6, 1981.

 

06/30/81 : With just one year left to ratify,

N.O.W. launches an “E.R.A. Countdown

Campaign” to intensify its already massive

effort. There were over 170 rallies in 42

states. National Honorary Chair and Former

First Lady Betty Ford, and actor Alan Alda,

National Honorary Co-chair of the campaign

were among the celebrities at the Washington,

D.C. rally with Eleanor Smeal, N.O.W.’s president.

 

08/09/81 : A Gallup Poll shows that an all-

time high of 63% of Americans who have

heard or read about the E.R.A. support it,

while just 32% oppose it. Even 58% of self-

described “conservatives” were in favor of it,

as were 75% of “liberals.”

 

08/22/81 : N.O.W.’s “Last E.R.A. Walk” raised

close to a million dollars (equal to $ 2,487,476

in December, 2012) thanks to walkers in

110 cities.

 

12/23/81 : Judge Marion Callister rules that

the extension of the E.R.A. deadline was

unconstitutional, and that rescission is legal.

His decision in “Idaho vs. Freeman” was

appealed to the Supreme Court. On January

25, 1982, it issued a unanimous order

staying his decision and granting N.O.W.‘s

appeal of his ruling. But when it was time

for the appeal to be heard, on October 4,

1982, the extension period had expired,

and since 38 ratifications had not occurred,

they considered the case to be moot. There-

fore, the questions of whether Congress can

extend the deadline for a Constitutional

Amendment to be ratified, and whether

states can rescind their ratifications have

not as yet been ruled on by the Supreme

Court, though Congress has always refused

to recognize rescissions.  

 

04/16-22/82 : A Harris poll of 1,258 adults

nationwide showed that when read the exact

wording of the E.R.A., 73% favored it, 22%

were opposed, and 5% were not sure. After

being read summaries of the pro and con

arguments, it was still favored by 63%,

opposed by only 34% with 3% not sure.

Almost twice as many (27%) “strongly

favored” it than “strongly opposed” it (14%).

 

04/24-29/82 : A Harris Poll in the unratified

state of North Carolina showed that 61% of

that state’s residents favored ratification,

with only 30% opposed.

 

05/18/82 : Seven women in Springfield,

Illinois, begin a “Women’s Fast for Justice”

in support of E.R.A. ratification. They were :

Zoe Ann Ananda (now Nicholson), Dina

Bachelor, Mary Barnes, Mary Ann Beall,

Sonia Johnson, Shirley Wallace and Sister

Maureen Fiedler. It concluded 36 days

later, on June 23rd.

 

 

06/03/82 : Seventeen women chain them-

selves to the railing around the entrance to

the Illinois Senate.

 

06/04/82 : The North Carolina Senate votes

to table the E.R.A. by a vote of 27-23.

 

06/06/82 : There were simultaneous E.R.A.

rallies of more than 10,000 people each in

four unratified state capitals (Tallahassee,

Florida ; Springfield, Illinois ; Raleigh, North

Carolina and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.)

 

06/21/82 : The Florida House passes the

E.R.A. by 60-58, but the Senate votes 22-16

against.

 

06/22/82 : In Illinois, the vote in the House

was 103 in favor, 72 opposed, so though it

was approved by 58.9% of House members,

it fell short of the 107-vote, 60% supermajority

necessary. Though a change of just 7 votes

between 1975 and 1979 would have brought

certain victory on May 24, 1979, even at this

late date, a shift of only a few votes in three

state legislatures could have made for a

last-minute triumph just 8 days before the

deadline.

 

06/24/82 : With no prospects for ratification

before June 30th, N.O.W. President Eleanor

Smeal announces the end of the E.R.A. Count-

down Campaign, but promises that : “The fight

for equality for women will go on, stronger

than ever, until justice is ours.”   

 

06/30/82 : The extended deadline for the

E.R.A. expires without 38 states having ratified,

and after a final rally in Lafayette Park, across

from the White House, E.R.A. supporters move

on to the next phase of the struggle. For some,

that meant working on State E.R.A.’s, and for

others it meant coming back to Congress to

either start the process again, or remove the

deadline entirely and pick up where they left

off on June 30, 1982.

 

The 15 unratified states are : Alabama, Arizona,

Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana,

Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina,

Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

 

07/14/82 : Senator Paul Tsongas (D-MA) re-

introduces the Equal Rights Amendment in the

Senate with 50 other co-sponsors. It was re-

introduced in the House later that same day by

Rep. Peter Rodino (D-NJ) with 200 co-sponsors.

A large number of its Congressional supporters

held a press conference afterwards.

 

01/03/83 : The E.R.A. is reintroduced and

designated H.J. Res. 1, the first House bill in

the new 98th Congress. It has 210 co-sponsors,

and soon picks up more.  It is reintroduced

in the Senate on January 25th with 54 co-sponsors.

It will be re-introduced in every successive

Congress.

 

11/15/83 : The E.R.A. comes within six votes

of the 2/3 needed for passage by the House of

Representatives, with 278 in favor and 147

opposed. (With 425 members present and

voting, 284-141 would have been needed for

a 2/3 majority.) Only 22 women were House

members at the time, and 20 of them vote in

favor. Democrats vote 225 in favor, 38 against

(85.6% support). Republicans vote 53 in favor

and 109 against (32.7% support).       

 

05/20/92 : The “Madison Amendment,” first

sent to the states on September 25, 1789, is

certified by both Houses of Congress as having

received the necessary 38 valid state ratifica-

tions. When ratifications spread over 203

years were accepted, it bolstered the argument

of E.R.A. supporters that ratifications need

not occur over a short period of time to be

counted, so using this as a precedent, E.R.A.

approvals from 1972 to 1977 should be accepted

many decades in the future if the time limit is

removed.

 

07/2001 : A nationwide poll of 500 men

and 502 women by the Opinion Research

Corporation for the E.R.A. Campaign Network

finds that 95% of men and 97% of women believe

that men and women should have equal rights ;

85% of men and 91% of women think that

gender equality should be guaranteed by the

Constitution ; 75% of men and 69% of women

think there is already something in the Consti-

tution that makes it clear men and women

should have equal rights.

 

09/17/2010 : Supreme Court Justice Antonin

Scalia tells an audience at the University of

California’s Hastings College of Law that the

Constitution does not bar sex discrimination,

because those who wrote and passed the 14th

Amendment did not intend for it to do that.

Though a Court majority has ruled in a number

of cases against gender bias, this demonstrates

how fragile women’s rights are without some-

thing in the Constitution specifically banning

discrimination based on sex. 

 

03/08/2011 : On International Women’s Day,

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduces a

resolution (H.J. Res. 47) to do away with the

E.R.A. deadline and recognize the 35 ratifications

already secured, thus rejecting rescissions. This

is part of the “Three State” E.R.A. strategy that

would pick up the campaign where it left

off on June 30, 1982, with just three more

ratifications needed.

 

06/22/2011 : Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY),

introduces H.J. Res. 69, which would begin the

process of E.R.A. approval and ratification

anew, but with identical language to the earlier

E.R.A.  Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) intro-

duces a companion bill to Maloney’s resolution,

S.J. 21, in the Senate. This is known as the

“Start Over” strategy.

 

03/22/2012 : Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)

introduces S.J. Res. 39 in the Senate as a

companion bill to Baldwin’s H.J. Res. 47.

 

02/08/2013 : Justice Ruth Bader

Ginsburg is asked about the “Three

State Strategy” at a question & answer

session following a speech, and

replies : “It’s too late. We should

start over.”

 

03/05/2013 : Senator Robert Menendez

(D-NJ) and 10 co-sponsors introduce

Senate Joint Resolution 10, the Equal

Rights Amendment. This is the “Start

Over” plan, and it has no time limit on

ratification. It has been referred to the

Senate Judiciary Committee. Rep. Carolyn

Maloney (D-NY) will be introducing a

companion resolution in the House.

 

The original co-sponsors were : Begich

(D-AK), Blumenthal (D-CT), Boxer

(D-CA), Cardin (D-MD), Harkin (D-IA),

Hirono (D-HI), Lautenberg (D-NJ),

Levin (D-MI), Stabenow (D-MI),

Warren (D-MA). Three more co-

sponsors have now been added :

Whitehouse (D-RI) on March 11th,

Gillibrand (D-NY) on March 13th, and

Franken (D-MN) on May 6th.

 

 

05/09/2013 : Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD),

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Representa-

tive Robert Andrews (D-NJ) introduce

“3-State” E.R.A. Ratification Resolutions.

 

The Senate version, S.J.R. 15, has 22 other

co-sponsors : Baldwin (D-WI), Begich

(D-AK), Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown

(D-OH), Cowan (D-MA), Durbin (D-IL),

Gillibrand (D-NY), Harkin (D-IA), Heinrich

(D-NM), Hirono (D-HI), Kaine (D-VA)

Mark Kirk (R-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN),

Landrieu (D-LA), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Levin

(D-MI), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD),

Murkowski (R-AK), Christopher S. Murphy

(D-CT), Sanders (I-VT) and Stabenow (D-MI).

 

 

S.J.R. 15 has been sent to the Senate

Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator

Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT). The committee

consists of Leahy, plus 9 Democrats and

8 Republicans. The S.J.C.’s Subcommittee            

on Constitutional Amendments (where it

may be heard first) is chaired by Senator

Dick Durbin (D-IL) and consists of himself,

4 Democrats and 4 Republicans.

 

The House “3 State” bill is H.J.R. 43, which

has 31 co-sponsors, all Democrats, and has

been referred to the House Judiciary

Committee.

 

The co-sponsors are : Chu (CA), Clay (MO),

Conyers (MI), Cummings (MD), Dingell (MI),

Edwards (MD), Ellison (MN), Grijalva (AZ),

Gutierrez (IL), Hoyer (MD), Kaptur (OH),

Levin (MI), Lowenthal (CA), Lujan Grisham

(NM), Maloney (NY), McCollum (MN),

Michaud (ME), Moore (WI), Moran (VA),

Norton (DC), Pingree (D-ME), Richmond (LA),

Ruppersberger (MD), Sarbanes (MD),

Schakowsky (IL), Adam Smith (WA), Speier

(CA), Tsongas (MA), Van Hollen (MD),

Wasserman Schultz (FL), Frederica Wilson

(FL).

 

The House Judiciary Committee is chaired

by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and consists of the

chair, plus 21 Republicans and 17 Democrats.

 

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the

Constitution and Civil Justice, where the

bill may be heard first, is chaired by Rep.

Trent Franks (R-AZ), with Rep. Jim Jordan

(R-OH), Vice-Chair. There are six other

Republicans and five other Democrats on

the sub-committee.

 

07/07/2013 : The National Organization

for Women passes the following resolution

at its national convention :

 

WHEREAS, constitutional equality for women

is a core issue for the National Organization

for  Women (NOW) and discrimination based

on  sex is a violation of human rights; and

WHEREAS, NOW is supporting both the 3-

state strategy and a Congressional strategy to

begin anew on an Equal Rights Amendment

(ERA); and

WHEREAS, Congressional leaders for women's

equality believe it is necessary to support both

strategies; and

WHEREAS, both methods provide unique

advantages; and

WHEREAS, NOW continues to support ratify-

cation of the Convention on the Elimination of

All Forms of Discrimination against Women

(CEDAW, The Women's Treaty) by the U.S.

Senate;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW

reaffirms that we continue to work on several

strategies that educate the public about the

need to win constitutional equality for women;

and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW create

an "ERA Educate to Advocate Campaign" and

actively pursue opportunities to obtain media

attention to bring the movement to ratify the

ERA and CEDAW (The Women's Treaty) into

the national conversation; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we recom-

mend to the NOW/PAC and the state and local

PACs that they score candidates on their sup-

port for an ERA on the 3-state strategy, a

Congressional strategy to begin anew on an

Equal Rights Amendment, and CEDAW (The

Women's Treaty), in considering whether or

not to endorse a political candidate.

 

 

08/01/2013 : Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

introduces H.J.R. 56 :

 

“Section 1 : Women shall have equal rights in

the United States and every place subject to

its jurisdiction. 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. Congress and the several states

shall have the power to enforce, by approp-

riate legislation, the provisions of this article.

 

“Section 3. This amendment shall take effect

two years after the date of ratification.”

 

This bill was introduced by Rep. Carolyn

Maloney (D-NY) with 93 co-sponsors, one

more endorsing it the next day. It combines

most of the original 1923 language ("Men and

women shall have equal rights throughout the

United States and every place subject to its

jurisdiction") with the language that's been

used since 1943 and is in the 1972 version of

the E.R.A. ("Equality of rights under the law

shall not be denied or abridged by the United

States or by any State on account of sex.") 

Should both H.J.R. 56 and S.J.R. 10 pass, they

would then go to a conference committee to

have the language differences resolved, because

House and Senate bills must have absolutely

identical wording for Congressional passage. 

 

H.J.R. 56 : 95 supporters (93 Democrats, 2 Republicans)

 

Alabama : Sewell (D)

 

Arizona : Grijalva (D)

 

California : Bass (D), Becerra (D), Capps (D),

                   Cardenas (D), Costa (D), Davis (D),

                   Farr (D), Garamendi (D), Lee (D),

                   Lofgren (D), Napolitano (D), Ruiz (D),

                   Sanchez (D), Sherman (D), Swalwell (D),

                   Waters (D), Waxman (D)

 

Colorado : DeGette (D), Perlmutter (D),

 

Connecticut : Courtney (D), Himes (D)

 

Florida : Brown (D), Castor (D), Grayson (D),

               Wilson (D)

 

Georgia : Bishop (D), Johnson (D), Lewis (D),

                Scott (D),

 

Hawaii : Gabbard (D)

 

Ilinois : Davis (D), Duckworth (D), Foster (D),

              Gutierrez (D), Quigley (D)

 

Iowa : Loebsack (D)

 

Maine : Pingree (D)

 

Maryland : Cummings (D), Van Hollen (D)

 

Massachusetts : Capuano (D), Keating (D),

                           Kennedy (D), Lynch (D)

                           McGovern (D), Tsongas (D)

 

Michigan : Dingell (D), Kildee (D), Levin (D)

 

Minnesota : Ellison (D), McCollum (D)

 

Mississippi : Thompson (D)

 

Missouri : Clay (D)

 

Nevada : Titus (D)

 

New Hampshire : Shea-Porter (D)

 

New Jersey : Andrews (D), Frelinghuysen (R),

                      Pascrell (D)

 

New Mexico : Grisham (D)

 

New York : Bishop (D), Clarke (D), Crowley (D),

                    Higgins (D), Israel (D), Jeffries (D),

                    Maloney (D), Meng (D), Nadler (D),

                    Rangel (D), Slaughter (D), Tonko (D),

                    Velazquez (D)

 

North Carolina : Butterfield (D), Watt (D)

 

Ohio : Beatty (D), Fudge (D), Kaptur (D), Ryan (D)

 

Oregon : Blumenauer (D) DeFazio (D)

 

Pennsylvania : Dent (R), Fattah (D)

 

Rhode Island : Cicilline (D)

 

South Carolina : Clyburn (D)

 

Tennessee : Cohen (D), Cooper (D)

 

Texas : Green (D), Hinojosa (D), Jackson Lee (D),

Johnson (D)

 

Vermont : Welch (D)

 

Washington : McDermott (D)

 

Wisconsin : Moore (D)

 

Wyoming : Lummis (D)

 

 

08/24/2013 :  The battle goes on, ninety

years after it began on July 21, 1923 when

the National Woman’s Party formally

kicked off the E.R.A. campaign. It will

continue until the Constitution

explicitly and permanently declares :

“Equality of rights under the law shall not

be denied or abridged by the United States

or by any State on account of sex.

 

“The Congress shall have the power to enforce,

by appropriate legislation, the provisions of

this article.

 

 “This amendment shall take effect two years

after the date of ratification.”

 

===================================

 

2013 : ON THE ROAD TO VICTORY

 

Thanks to the work of those in the first

E.R.A. campaign (and feminist groups in

general) the most important step in the

battle to ratify the E.R.A. has already been

spectacularly achieved. Ninety-one percent

of Americans surveyed in 2012 think that

“The Constitution should guarantee equal

rights for men and women.” Only four per

cent thought it should not, and five per

cent were not sure. That’s a far higher level

of consensus than is normally needed to

justify amending the Constitution.

 

The next step should be to inform the 71%

of Americans who think the Constitution

already has such a provision in it that it

does not, and that the Supreme Court still

subjects laws which discriminate on the

basis of sex to a more lenient and subjective

standard than those which discriminate on

the basis of race or religion.

 

The best way to jump-start the new E.R.A.

campaign would be to get the issue back

in the public eye again – and then on track

to passage by Congress and ratification by

the states. Senate hearings would achieve

both goals at the same time.

 

Since Democrats control the Senate, chair

all committees, and have endorsed the

E.R.A. as recently as 2012, they should do

the “heavy lifting,” and the Senate is the

obvious place to begin. Even a single day

of hearings featuring nationally-known

legal scholars, feminist leaders, plus a

few celebrities to assure press attention,

would be enough to re-ignite the campaign.

 

It wouldn’t matter whether the hearings

were about the “Three State” bill (in which

a simple majority of the 113th Congress

removes the deadline set by the 92nd

Congress and extended by the 95th) so

the campaign could pick up where it left off

with just 3 more state ratifications needed,

or whether the hearings are about the “Start

Over” bill, in which the E.R.A. is re-passed

by 2/3 of Congress and ratified by 38 states.

 

As the majority party, Democrats could

pass a “Three State” bill on their own in

the Senate immediately, with their only

valid excuse for non-passage being a

Republican filibuster. 

 

Democrats do not have a two-thirds

majority in the Senate, and cannot pass

a new E.R.A. by themselves. But they can

get it to the Senate Floor, and therefore

have a responsibility to do so. At that

point Republicans would be faced with

three alternatives :

 

(1) Vote it down or filibuster it. Not a wise

move at a time when the G.O.P. is finally

trying to deal with being on the wrong end

of a persistent and powerful “gender gap”

at the polls. Blocking the very symbol of

equality for women would not be some-

thing to do lightly or automatically in an

electorate that’s mostly female, and

would only reinforce the view that the

party is leading a “War on Women.”

 

 

(2) They could decide that the best way to

gain some ground among women voters

and moderates, while alienating the fewest

radical rightists in their ranks, might be to

provide just enough votes to put the E.R.A.

over the top in the Senate. The G.O.P.

provided the vast majority of the votes

needed to pass and ratify the 19th Amend-

ment, introduced the E.R.A. into Congress

on December 10, 1923, became the first

major party to endorse it on June 26, 1940,

and every Republican President from

Eisenhower to Ford personally favored it.

So this could be the beginning of a return to

true “traditional Republican values,” and

would be a much better way to change their

image than a superficial “rebranding”

campaign.

 

(3) They could take the middle road and

neither block the E.R.A. nor endorse it.

Passing a Constitutional amendment does

NOT require that 2/3 of all the members of

both Houses of Congress vote in favor. All

that’s needed is for a quorum be present (a

majority of members) at the time of each

vote, and that two thirds of those present

vote “yes.” When the 19th Amendment came

up for a vote in the Senate on June 4, 1919,

it got only 56 votes in a 96-member Senate,

8 short of  2/3. But since only 81 members

were present, 56-25 was actually two more

votes than the 54-27 needed for passage.

 

So, if a few Republicans voted for it, and

others “went fishing” at the time of the vote,

the party could not be accused of blocking

the amendment in the Senate because it

would pass, and those Senators who

are concerned about the 4% of their

constituents who are anti-E.R.A. could

reassure them that they didn’t vote in

favor of it.

 

Once past the Senate, all pressure could

be directed toward the House Judiciary

Committee to send it on to the full House,

with the names of those blocking E.R.A.’s

progress made conspicuous at rallies

and by picketing outside their offices. All

House members must be re-elected

every two years, and are therefore quite

sensitive to public opinion once it’s mobil-

ized. Blocking something that’s back in the

news thanks to hearings and passage in the

Senate, and supported by 91% of the public

would be difficult.

 

Regardless of whether one supports the

“3 State” strategy or the “Start Over” plan,

there’s work to be done in the states. The

drive to get some of the 15 states that failed

to ratify between 1972 and 1982 to do so

now is an excellent way of keeping the issue

before the public. If even one of these state

campaigns is successful it would prove

that the issue is of relevance and concern

to those living in 2013.

 

The 15 states that did not ratify are :

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida,

Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi,

Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma,

South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

 

Residents of the 35 states that ratified

between 1972 and 1977 should get their

State Legislatures to reaffirm their

previous ratifications and ask Congress to

either remove the deadline or pass a new

E.R.A. so that they could ratify it again.

Suffragists got numerous State Legislatures

to approve resolutions asking Congress to

pass the Susan B. Anthony (nationwide

woman suffrage) Amendment, and these

resolutions had a positive effect on the

Congressional delegations from those

states.

 

Of course, if anyone knew how to pass a

Constitutional amendment, it was our

ideological ancestors, the suffragists. I

don’t know for certain what Alice Paul

would be doing if she were still around –

probably something so brilliant that we

would never think of it -  but I do know

what she did in 1917.

 

Almost 70 years after the suffrage struggle

began, Paul decided to do two essential things

simultaneously to speed victory :  Focus public

attention on the battle for the ballot and put

pressure on those who had enough influence

to get the job done. She did this by having

“Silent Sentinels” stand along the White

House fence bearing large banners whose

object was to get President Wilson to first

endorse the Anthony Amendment, then use

his influence to help get it passed by Congress.

 

Their banners asked two simple, relevant

questions : “Mr. President, What Will You

Do For Woman Suffrage ?” and “Mr. President,

How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty ?”

 

Fortunately, President Obama has supported

the E.R.A. since his days as an Illinois State

Senator, so burning his speeches in an urn

in Lafayette Park may not be needed to prod

him into action. But motivating Democrats

(who have endorsed the E.R.A. as recently as

2012 but have done nothing to advance it in

Congress) is definitely called for. Peacefully

picketing in front of Democratic National

Committee Headquarters with signs asking :

“Democrats : What Will You Do For The

Equal Rights Amendment ?” sounds like

something Alice Paul might do.

 

Because passage of the E.R.A. will require

some degree of bipartisan support, other

pickets should be in front of Republican

National Committee Headquarters asking

the party that dropped its support for the

E.R.A. in 1980 : “Republicans : How Long

Must Women Wait For Equality ?”

 

Regardless of whether we write, call, lobby in

person, or picket, 2013 is the year to take

action. We have overwhelming public support

and need only end the average American’s

false sense of security based on the belief that

the Constitution already has an outright ban

on sex discrimination.

 

The arguments used by the “antis” forty

years ago will sound to Americans today

like something out of the Victorian Era or a

“Saturday Night Live” parody. The “War on

Women” shows that without a Constitutional

amendment to strike them down, we will be

playing a never-ending game of legislative

“Whac-A-Mole,” forever fighting each new,

sexist law that pops up.

 

As of June 21st, the Constitution has been

in effect for 225 years. July 21st marked

exactly 90 years since the National Woman’s

Party kicked off the campaign for the E.R.A.

Putting a simple affirmation of equal rights for

men and women into the Constitution should

not take 225 years, or even 90 years.

 

Though the date that the E.R.A. becomes the

28th Amendment is still off in the future, the

time for the kickoff of the final campaign can

be as close as we choose to make it.


    FOR UP-TO-THE-MINUTE INFO :

http://www.ratifyeraflorida.net

http://www.equalrightsamendment.org

http://www.now.org/issues/constitution/index.html