WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced Thursday that Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have joined as bipartisan cosponsors of S.J.Res. 1, a resolution to remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Last year, Virginia became the 38th state legislature to ratify the ERA, meeting the three-fourths threshold required. On March 17, 2021, the House passed H.J. Res. 17, the House companion legislation to remove the ERA deadline. The ERA would expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in the Constitution.
“There should be no deadline on equality. This is not a partisan issue but one of universal human rights,” said Senator Cardin. “There is bipartisan agreement that equality for men and women should be in the U.S. Constitution, but it is not there yet, which surprises many. Congress has the power to make this right. I thank my colleagues for putting us on the path toward finally correcting this injustice and recognizing the equality of women under the law.”
“Senator Cardin and I – alongside countless dedicated advocates – have made good progress in raising awareness and building support for the Equal Rights Amendment. S. J. Res. 1 was the first bipartisan piece of legislation that Senator Cardin and I introduced in the 117th Congress, signaling what a high priority it is for both of us. I thank Senators Collins and Casey for joining us in our longstanding effort to ensure women are afforded equal protections under the Constitution,” said Senator Murkowski. “There is nothing partisan about equality for all.”
“The Equal Rights Amendment is about basic justice for women,” Senator Casey said. “Ensuring that women have equal rights is just common sense and long overdue. It’s far past time to ensure the Equal Rights Amendment is a part of our Constitution.”
“It has been nearly 50 years since Congress passed the ERA with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle,” said Senator Collins. “Maine ratified the Equal Rights Amendment in 1974, and now 38 states have done the same. The ERA will ensure that equality under the law will not be denied or abridged on account of a person’s sex. Congress should remove this roadblock that could impede the full ratification of the ERA.”
“We’re so honored to have Senator Bob Casey and Senator Susan Collins sign on as co-sponsors to S.J. Res. 1 – the bill to remove the time limit imposed on the ERA. America is ready for the Equal Rights Amendment, and these two new cosponsors demonstrate not only the will of the people but also the bipartisan nature of this Amendment. The ERA Coalition is ready to support our Senate cosponsors to move this legislation through,” said Carol Jenkins, CEO and President of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality.
Congress has the authority under Article V of the Constitution to set and change deadlines for the ratification of constitutional amendments, and has done so on numerous occasions. In 1992, the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting immediate congressional pay raises, was successfully ratified after 203 years. It was initially proposed as part of the original Bill of Rights in 1789.