U.S. House of Representatives

H.J. RES. 47 Re-Opens Drive For

Equal Rights Amendment

For Immediate Release:

Washington, DC - March 08, 2011

Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today introduced legislation to remove the congressionally-imposed deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

The bill, H.J. Res. 47, was introduced today, March 8, 2011, to coincide with Women’s History Month and the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day. The Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified by 35 of the 38 states necessary to become part of the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women equal treatment by federal and state laws.

“There should be no time limit on equality. Every right women currently have can be taken away. We should all stand equal before the law,” said Carolyn Cook, founder of United For Equality. “Thousands of laws throughout the United States still discriminate against women. This amendment will provide a blanket of protection across all 50 states against unequal laws and unequal enforcement.”

“The rights to equal pay, equal protection, and equal benefits can be taken away at any time without this amendment. Just this year, in 2011, a US Supreme Court justice wrote in a published article that the due process clause protection does not apply to women,” continued Cook. “One key result would be review of social security laws, which do not allow a homemaker to have social security accounts on their own.”

United4Equality created this amendment strategy to reflect the overwhelming support already achieved for the Amendment. Without the ERA, sex discrimination grievances must be addressed individually through costly legal battles, at taxpayer expense. Discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin is prohibited by the United State Constitution, yet sex discrimination is still allowed.

The amendment was written by suffragist Alice Paul immediately after women won the right to vote. It was introduced by a Republican Senator and Representative in 1923. It was adopted by the Republican Party platform in 1940, and by the Democrats in 1944. After 49 years, it passed but with the standard restriction of seven years that Congress placed on eight other amendments. However, since Congress extended the previous deadline, it has the power to remove the time limit altogether.

The amendment states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.”

The original amendment was introduced in 1923 in the US Congress without a time limit, by Susan B. Anthony’s nephew, as the “Lucretia Mott Amendment” after the woman who started the women’s suffrage movement. The amendment was introduced in every session of Congress until it was passed in 1972. Congress added a seven-year time limit in final passage to the proposing clause, but not to the amendment language itself. Congress then extended that limit three more years. This bill introduced today removes the time limit, allowing states to resume ratification towards 38 required minimum, similar to the lack of time limit on the amendment giving women the right to vote.

United For Equality is delighted to partner with Representative Baldwin (D-WI) and original co-sponsors Representatives Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) to ensure equal application of US law to women and men.

United for Equality is a social justice enterprise formed in 2010 to finish the Equal Rights Amendment.


Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Pictured left to right: Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), United for Equality, LLC's Vice President, Maureen Gehrig, United for Equality's CEO, Carolyn A. Cook