CURRENTLY, THERE IS NO FORMAL GUARANTEE OF EQUALITY REGARDLESS OF SEX IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. The ERA would extend the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause now applied to race to also apply to sex.
THE ERA IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY
The U.S. government cannot legitimately condemn the human rights abuses of women and girls abroad while denying its female citizens constitutional equality at home. What happens to women and children around the world has consequences for the United States and vice-versa. In terms of the status of women as true partners in society, the U.S. cannot lead from behind.
United 4 Equality, LLC, chose the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2011, to debut our exciting new ERA strategy and stand in solidarity with our global sisters to encourage the improvement of social contracts between women and governments worldwide.
THE ERA IN A DEMOCRACY
The principle of equality and justice for all human beings is all-inclusive. The ERA will amend the intent of the Constitution that held women as inferior, 2nd class citizens under law in 1789 and confer the rights and privileges of full citizenship that men possess at birth. Over time as men and women become co-stewards of America's future, society will grow and flourish in ways unimaginable.
THE ERA IN CONGRESS
The ERA will formally recognize sex as a protected classification with regards to government action as is already the case for race, religion and national origin. It will prevent abuse of the law by legislators to direct or control women’s lives arbitrarily. Congress can uphold and enforce the provisions of the ERA as necessary, bringing all 50 states and the White House's actions into alignment under the principle of equality and justice for all. If a law, policy or practice treats males and females differently, the ERA will prompt the courts to strike it down as unconstitutional.
THE ERA IN THE STATES
Another benefit of the ERA is that no matter where a woman lives in the U.S., she will have equal protection under the law. According to the Constitution, whatever rights are not specified by the federal government are left to the states to decide. Without equal status under federal law, women's rights are left to 50 different states that can enact 50 different laws. Throughout our country's history, women were denied their rights to property, wages, custody, divorce, education, sports, public speaking, and even wearing pants - by law, custom, and tradition. Today, female citizens won't be guaranteed equal protection until the required, systemic overhaul of existing laws and statutes to replace the term male or female with person. The ERA will also prevent any future discriminatory action by lawmakers towards men or women.
The advantage of amending the constitution is that laws provide piecemeal protection, are subject to the whims of the Party in power, and can be overturned by a one-vote majority or Executive Order. Amendments are universal across all 50 states and sustainable for future generations.
To overturn a constitutional amendment requires 2/3 of Congress = [(290 Representatives + 67 senators) + 38 states]. Only one amendment in our country's history has ever been rescinded and that was Prohibition.
THE ERA IN THE COURTS
Women's sex discrimination claims do not have the same strict scrutiny standard of judicial review that exists for race, religion, and national origin. Women do not have inalienable rights in America.
Without this protection, women bear an often impossible burden to prove sex discrimination whereas, for other protected classes of people by race, religion, and national origin, the burden of proof lies with the state to justify its actions.
Under the ERA, federal and state Courts would have a clear, universal standard to strike down sex discrimination in law. The ERA would improve outcomes for the plaintiff and establish judicial precedent going forward.
Politics produces winners and losers. It can best be understood as the struggle over who gets power and resources in society. Americans who are treated unequally by law consequently have less power:
to use the democratic system to get what they need and want (like legislation to protect and further their interests)
to secure the resources available through the system (like education and other government benefits)
to gain new resources (like jobs and material goods)
People who cannot claim their political rights have little if any standing in a democratic society.
Barbour, Christine, and Gerald C. Wright. Keeping the Republic: Power and Citizenship in American Politics. 2nd Brief ed. Washington, DC: CQ, 2006. Print.