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Shaking Awake The Equal Rights Amendment



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The year 2020 is off to a busy start for women’s rights. Not only do we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, but the Equal Rights Amendment has gotten new legs.

In case anyone was asleep the last half of the 20th Century (as it appears many of us were), the Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced to Congress in 1923, and only approved by the Senate in 1972, was still not ratified by the requisite 38 states by the 1982 deadline to become the 27th Amendment to the Constitution.

What is this radical amendment that has had our government yelling “Hold the horses!” for so long? The proposed Equal Rights Amendment states: “Section 1. Women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Section 2. Congress and the several States shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.”

Knock me over with a feather, but really? We are still wondering if women deserve equal rights? It is a relief to know that in January Virginia became the 38th state to ratify this proposal. Why, though, have all 50 states not yet ratified this proposed amendment?

In February, Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong joined 20 state attorneys to urge the houses of Congress to remove the ratification deadline for the ERA and demand that the ERA become one with the Constitution. AG Tong points out that neither the Constitution nor the ERA proposal state any expiration dates. (Moving slowly seems to be a governmental MO: He also notes that it “took 203 years to ratify the 27th Amendment,” in 1992, affecting increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress).

This February, Congress removed the 1982 deadline for ratification, voting 232 to 183 to do so. What? It was not a unanimous vote to remove this deadline?

It is embarrassing that the ERA was left snoozing beneath other issues and is only now being addressed.

Women are not to be feared, nor are women meant to be marginalized or held hostage by restrictions that others care to heap upon them. As noted by this state’s creation of the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, the working group created last year by Governor Lamont and chaired by Lt Governor Bysiewicz, the lives of women and girls and their contributions to this society are valued and will be supported.

Women know that they are equal. And knowledge is power. Adding this amendment to our Constitution acknowledges that no one should be denied rights because of their sex. It should not take decades, let alone a century, to bestow this Constitutional right upon women.

Let your legislators know that you are wide awake and are ready to fight legal challenges that remain in the way of equal rights for all women.

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