FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2023
Washington, DC –– Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, announced a committee hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) scheduled for February 28, 2023. The hearing, an important milestone in the legislative process, comes as the equality movement marks 100 years since its initial introduction in Congress. This will be the first hearing on the subject in a Senate committee since 1984.
The hearing was announced after both houses of Congress introduced joint resolutions that, when passed, will affirm the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution and remove the time limit; an act that is not required but could make a difference in future legal hurdles.
“More than 70 percent of Americans think we already have sex equality in our Constitution, but even after 100 years of struggle, we don’t. It has never been more clear that we need those protections to prevent further roll back of our rights; it’s past time that we acknowledge that the Equal Rights Amendment is valid and enforceable today,” said Zakiya Thomas, President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. “We’re grateful to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for committing to a vote on SJ Res 4 in this legislative session, to Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Lisa Murkowski for their unwavering leadership as co-lead sponsors of the resolution in the Senate, and to Senator Dick Durbin for his commitment in bringing the ERA to the Judiciary Committee for a hearing. We want it on the record that there is no time limit on equality, and that the opponents of the ERA are on the wrong side of history here.”
“After law school, I worked in the Illinois State Senate – and my first assignment was on the Equal Rights Amendment. That was almost fifty years ago. Women and girls have waited far too long for our Constitution to explicitly grant them equality under the law,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “As Chair of the Committee, I’m ensuring that the Judiciary Committee gives this topic the significant focus it deserves. As a father and grandfather, I’m proud to be working on the right side of history – alongside generations of women and advocates – to ensure women’s equality is written in our nation’s founding document.”
“Alaska recognizes that women’s equality is fundamental—having both ratified the ERA and amended the State Constitution to prohibit discrimination in 1972. It’s time for the country to follow Alaska, and ensure men and women are treated equally under the law,” said Senator Murkowski. “This hearing gives us an opportunity to highlight the joint resolution Senator Cardin and I introduced to remove the arbitrary deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
“There should be no time limit on equality. I appreciate Senator Durbin for holding a Senate hearing on our joint resolution that acknowledges ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment,” said Senator Cardin. “The legislative record should be simple and apparent to all: Congress changed the arbitrary timeline for ratification of the ERA once before and therefore can do it again. An overwhelming majority of Americans already think the ERA is a part of the Constitution; Congress needs to make that a reality and declare that enough states have ratified the amendment.”
The ERA Coalition was founded in 2014 to bring concerted, organized action to the effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA Coalition has a sister organization, the Fund for Women’s Equality, which promotes public education and outreach on the need for constitutional equality. Composed of more than 280 organizations across the country, the Coalition provides education and advocacy on Constitutional Equality.
While the effort to amend the Constitution to include sex equality began nearly a century ago, our renewed efforts are centered on women of color (African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Latina, and Native American), gender-nonconforming and transgender women and girls, and nonbinary people – those who are most impacted by systemic inequities.