Press Release

April 28, 2023
Cardin Leads Senate Fight for the Equal Rights Amendment During Historic Vote

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), led a majority of the U.S. Senate Thursday in supporting S.J.Res. 4, a resolution he coauthored with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) that would remove the arbitrary deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and positively affirm that the Constitution’s 38-state threshold needed has been met.

A similar resolution was approved by the House in 2021 and 2022, but had never been voted on by the Senate until this week. In its first Senate vote, the Cardin-Murkowski resolution garnered a 51 to 47 bipartisan majority of Senators in favor, but did not achieve the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Leader Schumer then entered a motion to reconsider the vote at a later time this Congress.

Following the vote, Senator Cardin was joined by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (Mass.-7) and Congresswoman Cori Bush (Mo.-1) and Equal Rights advocates, including former Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Equal Rights Coalition president, Zakiya Thomas, actress Alyssa Milano, Generation Ratify national policy director, Claudia Nachega and CEO of League of Women Voters, Virginia Kase Solomón.

“The states have completed their work. They have ratified. It’s now up to Congress to complete its job and remove any doubt about the Equal Rights Amendment being part of our Constitution,” said Senator Cardin during Thursday’s press conference. “This has been a struggle, but we’re going to get to the finish line.”

The full press conference can be viewed here.

On Wednesday evening before the vote, Senator Cardin led a debate on the Senate Floor detailing why the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment is long overdue.

“This should never be a partisan issue. Equality should enjoy support, I would hope, from both Democrats and Republicans,” said Senator Cardin. “There is no time limit on equality.”
For more of Senator Cardin’s comments, click here.
The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced 100 years ago to codify gender equality. Since 1923, a version of the constitutional amendment was introduced in every Congress until it passed in 1971 in the House and 1972 in the Senate. The text reads as follows: 
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
In the preamble of the resolution proposing the amendment, Congress specified that the measure required ratification by three-fourths of the states (38 states) within seven years. A joint resolution enacted by Congress later extended this deadline to 10 years, but only 35 out of 38 states had ratified the ERA by the revised 1982 deadline. Since then, Nevada (2017), Illinois (2018), and Virginia (2020) have ratified the amendment.