Today, the House Judiciary Committee successfully marked-up H.J.Res. 79, a joint resolution which would clear the path for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and enshrine equality for both sexes into the U.S. Constitution. Following the 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, H.J.Res. 79 would remove the deadline for ratification of the ERA—set by Congress in 1972 and extended in 1978—guaranteeing that the ERA can become a part of our Constitution once a 38th state ratifies it. The legislation will now move to the full House for a vote before heading to the Senate.
"Alice Paul’s Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in both Houses of Congress in 1923, but 96 years later, the United States Constitution still does not explicitly declare that women have equal rights under the law," said Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). "With ongoing efforts by the federal and state governments to undermine equality under the law based on sex, it is clear that an Equal Rights Amendment is more important than ever. The resolution passed out of the Committee today will eliminate the deadline for ratifying the ERA, bringing our country closer to truly fulfilling our values of inclusion and equal opportunity for all people."
"We know that in the year 2019, it is unacceptable that women still are not paid equal wages for equal work. We know that when women are treated with equal dignity and respect in the workplace, in the home, by our institutions of government, and in our society at large, all of the American people stand to benefit. And we know that a simple but fundamental guarantee of equality should be welcomed rather than feared," said Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Chair Steve Cohen (D-TN).
"The House Judiciary Committee’s historic markup of my resolution to facilitate the ratification of the ERA is a win for the women and men who have fought generations for true equality and justice for all Americans," said Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. "A vote for the ERA is a vote for equality. Last week’s state legislature elections in Virginia firmly place the state in the position to become the final needed to ratify the ERA, providing driving momentum for passage of this crucial amendment to make women equal to men in our Constitution and under the law. I stand with and applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate, advocates, and activists who have been working their entire lives for this day and this just cause. We won’t rest until the ERA becomes reality. Women are not second class citizens. It’s time to say that in the Constitution."
"The passage of this resolution is an historic step," said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). "Last week, the incredible ERA advocates in Virginia helped elect a new pro-ERA majority to the state legislature. This all but guarantees that Virginia will become the needed 38th state to ratify the ERA soon after the new legislature is sworn in this coming January. Now, one hundred years after women won the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment, it is time for women’s full equality to be written into the Constitution. I am thrilled that we are closer than ever to achieving that."