WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday on their resolution (S.J.Res. 4) to remove the arbitrary deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and to recognize that 38 states have ratified the amendment. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chaired the hearing, which was the first in the Senate on the ERA since 1984.
S.J.Res. 4 is a bicameral, bipartisan joint resolution to affirm the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and take a critical step toward enshrining equality for women in the United States Constitution. It reads:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That notwithstanding any time limit contained in House Joint Resolution 208, 92nd Congress, as agreed to in the Senate on March 22, 1972, the article of amendment proposed to the States in that joint resolution is valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution, having been ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.
“There should be no time limit on equality,” said Senator Cardin. “Congress ratified the ERA and sent it to the states. The states have done their job. Now it is on Congress to recognize officially that 38 states have ratified the ERA and all constitutional requirements have been met. I thank Senator Durbin, Senator Murkowski and all our cosponsors for their active participation in advancing true equality on the basis of sex in the U.S. Constitution.”
“Things have improved over the years, but we still have a long way to go to when it comes to achieving equality for women. And I think we need the Equal Rights Amendment to get there. I’m proud of the fact that my state—Alaska—ratified the ERA in 1972, the same year it passed the House and Senate and was signed by President Carter. A few months later, Alaskans amended the state constitution to prohibit discrimination based on sex. Women should have equal treatment to men under the law and Congress should do all it can to ensure the ERA is finally made part of the Constitution—it is long over-due,” said Senator Murkowski. “I thank Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Graham, and other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for inviting Senator Cardin and I to testify about the ERA resolution we’ve introduced.”
“The principle of equality is fundamental to who we are as a nation — and that’s why we must enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment in our Constitution,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The push for gender equality and the Equal Rights Amendment spans generations, and today, it received the well-deserved focus of our committee — the ERA’s first Senate hearing since 1984. It’s time to live up to the promise of equality and affirm the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, explicitly guaranteeing gender equality in our Constitution. I thank Senators Cardin and Murkowski for their bipartisan leadership on this issue.”
The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced 100 years ago to codify gender equality. Since 1923, the constitutional amendment was introduced in every session of Congress until it passed in 1972 in both the House and Senate. Congress then placed an arbitrary seven-year deadline on the ratification process before extending the deadline to 1982, but only 35 ratified the ERA before the arbitrary deadline. However, with the recent ratifications of the ERA by Nevada in 2017, Illinois in 2018 and Virginia in 2020, the 38 states needed for certification of the ERA to be become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has now been reached.
Ratifying the ERA, which states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex”, would affirm women’s equality in our Constitution, enshrining the principle of women’s equality and an explicit prohibition against sex discrimination in the nation’s foundational document.
The lawmakers’ resolution is endorsed by nearly 300 grassroots and national organizations, including: 9 to 5, A Better Balance, A Call to Men, A Phillip Randolph Institute, AFL-CIO, Academy of Forensic Nursing, Activism Caucus, Association for Women in Psychology, ADA Expertise Consulting, LLC, Advance Native Political Leadership, African American Policy Forum, Alice Paul. Alliance for Justice, American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Ethical Union, American Family Voices, American Federation of Teachers, American Humanist Association, American Medical Women’s Association, Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Athena Society, Athlete Ally, Baltimore NOW (National Organization for Women), BETTY Effect, Black Girl Magic Network, Black Girls Vote, Black Women’s Agenda Inc., Black Women’s Roundtable, By the Women for the Women Vote 2021, CAL FIRE, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, California Women’s Law Center, Catapult, Catholics for Choice, CCSWG, Center for Common Ground, Center for Popular Democracy, Center for Reproductive Rights, Charlottesville NOW, Church Women United, Inc., City Harvest, Civic Influencers, ClearingHouse on Women’s Issues, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Code Red: Youth of the Nation, Color of Change, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Corazones Unidos Siempre Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority, Inc, Custody Peace, Deeds Not Words, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Democratic Women’s Club of Worcester County, MD, Democrats Abroad, Dia de los Muertos DC, Dolores Huerta Foundation, DWC, End Rape on Campus, Enough Z Enough, Enterprising and Professional Women-NYC, Equal Means Equal, Equal Means ERA South Carolina, Equal Rights Advocates, Equal Rights Maine, Equality Fund, Equality Now, Equality Utah, ERA Action, ERA Education Project, ERA Illinois, ERA NC Alliance, ERA Now, ERA Now: Delaware, ERA Once and For All, ERA ReEvolution, ERA Task Force AZ, ERAMN, Esler Family Foundation, Fairfax County Commission for Women, Federally Employed Women, Feminist Majority, Florida NOW, Futures Without Violence, Gender Equality Law Center, General Federation of Women’s Club, GenERAtion Ratify, Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Girls for Gender Equality, Girls That Create, Glaad, Global Fund for Women, Global G.L.O.W., Global Rights for Women, Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (GWAC), Gyrl Wonder, Inc., Hadassah, HALE o Hawai’i, Hip Hop Caucus, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, IGNITE, Illinois NOW, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Indiana Federation of Democratic Women, Indianapolis NOW, Indivisible Worcester Maryland, Indrani’s Light Foundation, Iowa NOW, IPAS, Japanese American Citizens League, Jewish Women International, Justice for Migrant Women, Justice in Aging, Justice Revival, Katrina’s Dream, Keshet, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Latin American Studies Association, Latino Economic Development Center, Leading Women of Tomorrow, League of Women Voters, League of Women Voters of Dare County, League of Women Voters of North Carolina, League of Women Voters of the Morristown Area, League of Women Voters of Virginia, Legal Momentum, Let’s Breakthrough, Inc., Links, Incorporated, LPAC, MADRE, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), MANA, A National Latina Organization, Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, Maryland NOW, Maryland Women’s Heritage Center and Museum, Matthew Shepard Foundation, Michigan Women Forward, Mid-Day Women’s Alliance, Military Rape Crisis Center, Minnesota NOW, Monroe County NOW, Montana NOW, Montgomery County Commission for Women, Montgomery County, MD, Chapter, National Organization for Women, Mormons for the ERA, Mothers of Lost Children, Move On, Ms. Foundation for Women, Ms. Magazine, Muslims for Progressive Values, NA’AMAT USA, Natalie White for Equal Rights, National Action Network, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW), National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Women Lawyers, National Birth Equity Collaborative, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Prince William County Chapter, National Congress of Black Women, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of Women of the United States, National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance, National Federation of Democratic Women, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Organization for Women – Columbia, SC, National Organization for Women (NOW), National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, National Urban League, National Woman’s Party, National Women’s Health Network, National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), Nevada NOW, New American Leaders, NFBPW, NNEDV, North American Indian Center of Boston, North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV), North Star Project, Northern New Jersey NOW, Ohio Business and Professional Women, Ohio NOW, Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, One Colorado, Oregon NOW, Peace Over Violence, Period Equity, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Platform, Pride at Work, Project 28, Providence Student Union, re:gender, RepresentWomen, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Sanctuary for Families, Secular Women, SEIU, SEIU Virginia 512, Service Women’s Action Network, Shattering Glass, She the People, Sisters Lead Sisters Vote, Sociedad Latina, Society for Women’s Health Research, Sojourners, Somerset County Federation of Democratic Women, South Asian Youth Action, South Jersey NOW-Alice Paul chapter, Strike for America, Strike for Our Rights, Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee of Worcester Co MD, Suffrage Centennials, Supermajority, Texas Impact, The 4th Branch, The Feminist Front, The Human Rights Effort, The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), The Ruth Project, Third Wave Fund, TransLatin@ Coalition, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, UAW Women’s Department, Ujima Community, Unite Women Org, United Democratic Women, United Methodist Women, United Mine Workers of America, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Universal Access Productions / Arizona Theatre Matters, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, Utah Era Coalition, V-Day, VA Ratify ERA, Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Veteran Feminists of America, Violence Free Minnesota, Virginia NOW, Virginia Poverty Law Center, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Vote Equality, Vote ERA org, Vote Forward, Vote Mama, Vote Run Lead, VoteEqualityND, Voto Latino, We Are Woman, Well Woman Life, Will County NOW, Winston & Strawn, Women Creating Change, Women Donors Network, Women Employed, Women for Afghan Women, Women Lawyers in Bergen, Women of Color in STEM at Maryville University, Women-Matter.org, Women’s Equality Day Celebration Across Maryland, Women’s Law Project, Women’s March, Women’s Media Center, Women’s Voices Media, Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Women’s Business Development Center, Women’s Center for Ethics in Action, Women’s eNews, Women’s Environment and Development Organization, Women’s Equity Center and Action Network, WomenSphere, YWCA, YWCA-Central Carolinas, Zonta Foothills Club of Boulder County.