Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
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April 8, 2021
THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
Continuing Our Monthly Celebration of
International Women’s Day
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged
by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by
appropriate legislation the provisions of this article.”
The original Equal Rights Amendment was written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman in 1923. Alice Paul was a leader in the woman suffrage movement. It was introduced in Congress in 1923 and in every Congressional session for almost 50 years before it won a majority. The original version read: “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” In 1943 it was rewritten into its current version.
Following the framework of Article V of the Constitution, the Equal Rights Amendment was reintroduced by Martha Griffiths in 1971 and approved by the House of Representatives on October 12, 1971, and by the Senate on March 22 1972, with 84 yes votes. The Amendment was then sent to the states for ratification. After its passage Hawaii was the first state to immediately ratify the amendment. By 1977, the amendment had received 35 state ratifications, but 38 were needed.
There was wide, bipartisan support for the Equal Rights Amendment at the time, including presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter along with both houses of Congress. However, conservative women led by Phyllis Schlafly were opposed to the amendment. They argued that the amendment would disadvantage housewives, allow women to be drafted into the military, eliminate alimony and/or Social Security benefits based on a husband’s income, and allow more fathers to obtain custody of children in divorce proceedings. Many women in the labor force also opposed the amendment in the beginning feeling that it would eliminate protections for women in labor law. Senator Ervin spoke out against the amendment asking, among other questions, if the amendment would legalize homosexuality, eliminate gender-segregated dormitories, prisons and public restrooms, and allow women to not take their husband’s family name. The original deadline that Congress set for the ratification of the Amendment to be completed was March 22, 1979. In 1978, Congress passed, and President Carter signed, a joint resolution to extend the deadline to June 30, 1982. Since 1978, several more attempts have been made to extend the deadline for ratification.
By the June 30, 1982 deadline, no more states had ratified the ERA. Two weeks later, the amendment was reintroduced in Congress, and a November 1983 floor vote in the House of Representatives failed by only six votes. The ERA has continued to be reintroduced in every session of Congress since that time.
On March 17, 2021, the house voted (222 to 204) to remove the deadline for ratifying the Amendment. The resolution states that the amendment shall be a part of the Constitution whenever it has been ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. That happened in 2020. On March 22, 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the amendment. On May 30, 2018, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the amendment. On January 27, 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. The political and legal challenges must be resolved before the amendment can become part of the constitution.
The Interfaith Peace Project looks forward to that day when fully human rights and dignity will be recognized without compromise throughout the Land and the World. The oppression of anyone is the oppression of everyone. Let the day come without delay when all people everywhere can be themselves without fear or political malice. May the day come soon when religious institutions and cultural organizations advance the right of every person to rise to their full potential.