As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of a women’s right to vote in America this year, we finally got the Equal Rights Amendment decreeing equal rights regardless of sex ratified by three quarters of the State Legislatures.
Way back in the 1970’s when I was a young feminist (joining NOW as soon as I turned 18), I was convinced that it was only a matter of months, if not maybe a year, until the Equal Rights Amendment would be passed and America would have an amendment to the constitution that proudly proclaimed that all people – men and women – were equal in the eyes of the law.
There were a lot of people who said it was unnecessary, but I’ve always felt that it should be spelled out, although I also wished we didn’t even need to make it an amendment to the constitution.
But then it got stalled, and the fact that it took more than 40 years to get 38 states to vote yes on this very basic concept made it clear to me how badly the ERA is needed.
Last week, the newly Democratic Virginia State legislature ratified the ERA, becoming the 38th state to do so, so that it can now go before Congress.
But because it took more than 40 years – which no other bill in our country’s history has ever taken so long to ratify—there is speculation that it might get blocked or delayed on procedural grounds, became the original bill was supposed to get tree quarters ratification by a deadline of 1982. However, Congress can just pass a bill eliminating the deadline, and that bill is already in the works.
It’s interesting to note that the 12 states that have not ratified the ERA are all in the south.
The major push-back on the ERA in the 70’s and 80’s was that women would have to serve in the military, but since then so many women have opted to serve in the military, and excelled, that that is really no longer an issue.
So, in this time of Trump, we might have the most radical, equal right amendment finally made into law.