Today, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) announced that the House Judiciary Committee would be marking up H.J.Res. 79 to eliminate the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The markup, scheduled for Wednesday, November 13th, represents the next step to clear the path for ratifying the ERA and enshrining equality for both sexes into the U.S. Constitution. The markup follows Tuesday’s election results in Virginia, which changed the makeup of the state legislature and improved the prospects for Virginia to become the thirty-eighth and final state needed to ratify the amendment, meeting the 3/4 threshold for being adopted as a new amendment written into the Constitution. Passing H.J.Res. 79 would carve out a legal path for Virginia’s vote by eliminating a deadline set by Congress in 1972, which it extended in 1978
"The ERA would affirm and strengthen the rights of women in our Constitution," said Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). "Congress created this deadline and, it is clear, Congress has every authority to remove it now. After decades of work by tireless advocates, it is time for Congress to act and clear the way for Virginia, or any other state, to finally ratify the ERA and for discrimination on the basis of sex to be forever barred by the Constitution."
"I am honored and thrilled that the Judiciary Committee is marking up my resolution to facilitate the expeditious ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. This is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history and in the fight for equality. It’s a moment that will be recorded in the history books as a time when Chairman Nadler and our colleagues on the committee worked to protect and advance the rights of more than half of the citizenry and voted for women and girls to finally see themselves in our Constitution," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus.
"The momentum to finally ratify the Equal Rights Amendment just keeps growing stronger," said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). "I am thrilled the House is moving forward the resolution to eliminate the ratification deadline. After the amazing victories in Virginia to elect a pro-ERA majority in the state legislature, we have never been closer to enshrining women’s equality in our Constitution. Tireless advocates across the country have brought us to this point, and I am proud to support this important step in the House."
"Everyone should be treated equally under the law, but the U.S. Constitution does not currently guarantee women the same rights and protections as men. I’m proud that Alaska was among the early adopters, having both ratified the Equal Rights Amendment and amended the State’s Constitution to prohibit discrimination in 1972. But for that to happen at a national level, we need one more state to ratify. There’s absolutely no reason to put a time-limit on the ability for that to happen," said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). "Congress can and should amend the language to remove the deadline for ratification to ensure gender-based equality is not only supported across the U.S., but also legally recognized. I will continue my efforts, alongside Senator Cardin and so many of my colleagues, to ensure the Equal Rights Amendment is finally added to the Constitution."
"We will ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The question is no longer if, but when. Most Americans are surprised to learn that the ERA is not already part of the U.S. Constitution, so it's high time the Congress step up and help make that happen. Congress needs to vote on our resolutions to formally remove deadline for ratifying the ERA," said Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).
A copy of H.J.Res. 79 can be found here.
On April 30, 2019, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held the first hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment in 36 years.
In January, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced companion legislation, S. J. Res. 6, in the U.S. Senate.