The Equal Rights Amendment has only three sections:
- Section 1: Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
- Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- Section 3: This Amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
In 1923, just after women got the right to vote, suffragist Alice Paul proposed the Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee that women would be treated equally under the Constitution. The proposal was brought up in Congress every year until 1972, when it was finally passed and sent to the states for ratification. No fewer than 38 states must ratify it for it to become a part of the Constitution.
Congress desigated a period of seven years for passage. Although this time limit was extended to 10 years, as the end of 1982 approached only 35 states had ratified the amendment. Thus the amendment has been considered to have failed.
- To eliminate confusion and inconsistency in sex discrimination claims
- To promote laws and court decisions that fairly take into account women's as well as men's experiences
- To affirm economic equity for women
- To prevent a rollback of women's rights by political votes
- To affirm that "liberty and justice for all," "equal justice under law," and "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" applies equally to women.
There are three reasons why the ERA is still a live issue:
- The time limit was only part of an administrative attachment, not part of the Amendment itself.
- The 27th Amendment, called the Madison Amendment - concerning Congressional pay raises - was finally ratified 203 years after its passage. The time limit was part of an administrative provision and not part of the Amendment.
- House Resolution 98, a bill in the 107th Congress, stipulates that the House of Representatives shall take necessary action to verify ratification of the ERA when an additional three states ratify it.
Three more states need to ratify the ERA. The Illinois House passed it in 2003, but their Senate postponed a vote on it in 2004. Both Georgia and Florida are actively working for its ratification. We must convince our Louisiana Legislators to pass the ERA. A grassroots coalition is working to organize statewide support.
- Learn more about the ERA. Visit www.ERACampaign.net and also www.4era.org.
- Join the Louisiana Coalition! Send your name, address, e-mail information to LA Coalition for ERA/ 518 Susan Drive, Hammond, LA 70403, or e-mail this information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Talk to your spouse, children, family, friends and clubs about it.
- Support ERA when it comes up for a vote
- Celebrate VICTORY when ERA passes!