This week, the House of Representatives voted once again to remove the deadline for states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Congress passed the ERA in 1972 and sent it to states for ratification. The original resolution required that the necessary number of states (38, or three-fourths of the states) must act within 7 years or the amendment would die. Not enough states ratified the amendment within that time, so Congress extended the deadline to 1982. Even with this extended deadline, the ERA still failed to meet the necessary number of states for ratification.
By a vote of 222-204, the House voted this week to remove that 1982 deadline.
This is an issue due to Virginia’s passage of the ERA in 2020. This was the latest state action regarding ratification. During the time between 1972 and 1982, 35 states ratified the ERA. However, as controversy grew over the amendment, 5 states rescinded their ratification. Since 2017, 3 states have ratified the ERA. With Virginia’s vote, this means that the ERA has met the threshold in the Constitution for ratification, as long as the states who rescinded ratification are not included and if the ratification deadline was removed.
Upon Virginia’s vote, the Trump Administration said that the deadline is enforceable, so it did not add the ERA to the Constitution. Some legal scholars disagree, however. Congressional action is aimed at resolving the controversy. The view of its sponsors is if Congress imposed the deadline, Congress can remove it. Opponents argue that the deadline is passed so this issue is over.
The ERA states:
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.
For the deadline to be removed, the Senate would also have to vote to rescind it.
Do you think the ERA should be part of the Constitution?