House Judiciary Committee Votes 21-11 to Remove the Time Limit Set in the Preamble of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2019 – The ERA Coalition applauds the decisive vote in the House Judiciary Committee on November 13 to remove the time limit set in the preamble of the Equal Rights Amendment. By a vote of 21 to 11, the Committee sent Jackie Speier’s HJ Res 79 out for consideration by the full House of Representatives for a vote. We trust Speaker Nancy Pelosi will set a date for that vote quickly.
The recent vote in the state of Virginia, ushering in a majority of pro-ERA legislators, indicates that a vote to ratify the ERA will come early in 2020, making Virginia the final and 38th state required to make the ERA a reality. Proposed by Alice Paul in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress in 1972.
“The markup and vote out of committee of this bill to remove the time limit for ratification of the ERA is historic. It begins a Congressional process that we hope to see completed by the time the 38th state – which we fully expect to be Virginia in January – votes for ratification. We hope the Senate will take this opportunity to move its bipartisan companion bill forward – non-discrimination on the basis of sex is a fundamental human rights issue that every elected representative should champion,” said Jessica Neuwirth, Co-Founder, Co-President ERA Coalition.
Judiciary Chair Nadler gave an impassioned opening statement in support of the ERA and said, “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 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. 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.” Rep Jackie Speier, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus
“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.” Rep Carolyn Maloney
The responsibility now falls on the US Senate to vote on and pass its removal of the time limit bill. Senators Ben Cardin and Lisa Murkowski are sponsors of the companion bill S.J. Res 6.
“The fight to pass the ERA has been decades in the making. Thanks to the Judiciary Committee’s passage of H.J. Res 79, we are one giant step closer to getting it done. We must keep up the momentum. The Senate must now take up S.J. Res. 6 to get the ERA over the finish line.” Senator Ben Cardin
“It’s absurd that it is 2019 and we still have not yet ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. Alaska was one of the states that were an early adopter, in 1972, I’m pretty proud of that. Everyone should be treated equally under the law, simple as that,” said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. “It is past time that the Equal Rights Amendment is finally added to the Constitution, so that our nation’s guiding principle document guarantees women the same rights and protections as men. It’s encouraging to see progress being made on efforts to remove the ratification deadline so that more states can ratify the ERA and allow it to finally become enshrined in our constitution.”
“As elected officials we have a moral obligation to listen to our constituents and let their voices be heard. Now is not the moment to shy away from correcting the historical exclusion of women and girls from our Constitution. No more lip service, no more empty promises. Respect will be shown when we gain equality in the Constitution.” Hala Ayala, Virginia Delegate, Co-Lead Patron of the ERA Amendment
“We cannot thank enough the members of our Coalition, more than 100 organizations strong, who have tirelessly worked for this day. To the generations of those who never gave up–it looks like success may be yours–and soon.” Carol Jenkins, ERA Coalition Co-President
“I’m ecstatic that the dream of including women in our country’s founding document is finally on the verge of becoming a reality — even though I can’t believe it took us 231 years to get here. Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment is crucial if we want to live in a country where equal pay is a reality, sex and gender discrimination is unacceptable, and the epidemic of sexual and physical violence is no longer tolerated as the norm. It also matters deeply on a symbolic level. All people should know their lives are valued, and deserve to be valued, by our legal system. I grew up in the 1970s and 80s watching my mom march for the Equal Rights Amendment. I can’t wait to give her the gift of a pocket Constitution that finally acknowledges her.” ERA Coalition Board member Heidi Schreck, Tony Nominated for her play “What the Constitution Means to Me”
“There are very few opportunities to be a part of a historic event: July 1969 Moon walk, November 4, 2008 electing Barack Obama, and of course the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We have an opportunity to live history today and we move one step closer to the full inclusion of women in the United States Constitution. Thank you Chairman Nadler and Committee Members for standing with us on the “Right Side of history.”” Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman, who led the successful Nevada ratification effort
“To my fellow Republicans, the time is now. Embrace and be a part of the solution. The future is full partnership between all peoples and, make no mistake, it is coming. Bring that future into being and be enshrined with those, that stood together in these momentous days.” Steve Andersson, former Illinois Representative who helped Illinois, in 2018 became the 37th state to ratify the ERA.
ABOUT THE ERA COALITION:
The ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality was founded in 2014 to bring concerted, organized action to the effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Comprised of nearly one hundred organizations across the country, the Coalition provides education and advocacy on Constitutional Equality. The ERA Coalition’s groundbreaking research indicates that more than 94% of all Americans want an Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA Coalition/FFWE has offices in New York City and Washington, DC.