ERA Now, More Than Ever

The author at an ERA rally.

The filing this week of a lawsuit in a federal district court in Alabama by Alabama, Louisiana, and South Dakota attorneys general attempting to stop efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment is nothing more than political grandstanding.

A majority of incoming Virginia state senators and state house delegates are now pledged to ratify the ERA in early 2020, which would make the Old Dominion state the 38th and final necessary to ratify the ERA nationally. The ERA coalitions in Arizona, North Carolina and other unratified states are also continuing their efforts to ratify, because they want their states to stand up for equality and end sex discrimination under the law.

This lawsuit represents the views of a small minority who oppose the ERA. Over 80 percent of Virginians favor the ratification of the ERA, and numerous polls show supermajorities for the ERA in other states and nationwide. 

The arbitrary timeline that the attorney generals want enforced is not binding. It is in the preamble of the ERA, and not in the wording ratified by the states. Recission of the ratification of a constitutional amendment by a state has never been allowed. 

This fight will go on—despite any attempts to slow its momentum.

About

Eleanor Smeal is president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and publisher of Ms. She appears frequently on television and radio, testifies before Congress on a wide variety of women’s issues and speaks to diverse audiences nationwide on a broad range of feminist topics. For over two decades, she has played a leading role in both national and state campaigns to win women’s rights legislation and in a number of landmark state and federal court cases for women’s rights.