NOW Press Release

For Immediate Release Contact: Pamela Turchin July 9, 2012 #443-875-8530

Women’s Advocacy Group Gains Key Support for ERA’s Ratification

[BALTIMORE- July 1, 2012] At the annual conference for the National Organization for Women (NOW) this weekend, United for Equality scored a victory in gaining support to urge Congress to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). United 4 Equality, L.L.C. (U4E) is a social justice enterprise based in Washington, DC that is solely committed to the ratification of the ERA by 2015. During the final meeting of the NOW Conference, NOW members adopted a resolution to lobby for removing this deadline.

Dr. Alice Paul, Republican suffrage leader, wrote the ERA in 1921, and the bill was introduced in 1923 by Susan B. Anthony's nephew, Rep. Daniel R. Anthony Jr. (R-KS). It was initiated in every session of Congress for nearly 50 years before it passed. When it was passed in 1972, Congress required the measure to be ratified by the necessary number of states (38) within 7 years. This deadline was later extended to 10 years. Between 1972 and 1982, 35 states voted to end discrimination on the basis of sex. Yet, on June 30, 1982, Congress refused to extend its deadline and the ERA ‘expired’, just three states short of full ratification under the US Constitution. A new constitutional amendment bearing the same text with no deadline has been introduced in every session of Congress since. It has never received a hearing.

Carolyn A. Cook, CEO and founder of U4E, proposed S.J. Res. 39 and H.J. Res. 47, which were introduced in Congress by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) in 2012 and Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in 2011.

Cook said, “The ERA 2015 Campaign is dedicated to multi-generations of women who fought for abolition, suffrage and temperance; to Dr. Alice Paul who authored the ERA and the National Women’s Party who lobbied the ERA for 49 years; to the feminists who worked tirelessly to deliver 35 states for ERA; and to the ERA Summit and the ERA Campaign Network who kept the ERA alive since 1982. And now to the emboldened next wave of feminists – who will join hands with our sisters of the seventies to remove any deadline for ERA’s ratification in the final three states needed.”

Terry O’Neil, President of NOW, said, “I am determined to see the ERA passed. NOW has endorsed SJ Res. 39 and HJ Res. 47, and we are moving full speed ahead and working with U4E to get more co-sponsors on this bill so that we can no longer be ignored.”

“With all the women from U4E and NOW who are devoted to constitutional equality, we will win,” said Ellie Smeal, President and founder of the Feminist Majority (FM).

“Maryland NOW approved all the support of the three state strategy resolution,” said Linda Mahoney, MD NOW president. “This focuses NOW’s efforts in the coming months on existing legislation to finally put women in the constitution.”

Alice Cohan, political director of Feminist Majority, commented that “I feel good about the resolution. Everyone came together with a united goal and we need to get back to that in whatever way works.”

Professional Registered Parliamentarian Dorothy Demarest was present during the discussion and passing of all NOW resolutions to ensure members were following procedures correctly. Demarest said, “My primary role is to advise the president (Terry O’Neil) on the proper protocol for the resolutions as it relates to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. I felt that every member had a full opportunity to speak her opinion. All sides of the issue were heard and the final resolutions fulfilled the wishes of the NOW conference.”

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