Late afternoon on Wednesday, Dec. 21, Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) marched from the House steps to the Senate to demand a vote on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). They were joined by feminist advocates, including Ellie Smeal of Feminist Majority, Zakiya Thomas and Bettina Hager of the ERA Coalition, author Kate Kelly, NOW vice president Bear Atwood and members of Generation Ratify.
The ERA supporters pointed to the House-passed H.Res.17—legislation to eliminate the arbitrary deadline to ratify the ERA. Companion legislation in the Senate, S.J.Res.1, which is led by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), is cosponsored by all 50 Senate Democrats, plus Republican Sens. Murkowski and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Despite these eleventh hour heroic efforts, the Senate failed to take up the ERA before the year’s close—but the feminist leaders and congressional members secured a promise from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that he’d bring it up for a vote before April of next year.
“2023 marks the 100th year anniversary since the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced,” said Maloney, Bush, Chu, Kaptur and Moore in a statement. “Our government’s failure to finalize ratification of the ERA has prevented our country from enshrining gender equality in the Constitution.
“While we are disappointed that the Senate was unable to hold a vote on the ERA this year, Majority Leader Schumer has committed to meeting with advocates at the top of the new year and stated that he will aim to hold a vote on the ERA before the end of next March. We are thankful for Senator Schumer’s support, and we remain hopeful that this new year will be the last year our Constitution goes without mention of equal rights for all.”
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