When the Equal Rights Amendment is LAW
When will American women have full legal rights?
Recognize the 28th Amendment!
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) 1923 - 2023
Who are we?
Equal Rights Maine is a grassroots organization advocating for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitutions of the U.S. and the state of Maine. We work to inform our fellow Mainers and those from other states about the importance of the ERA, to organize fellow supporters of the amendment, and to advocate for passage of both the federal and state Equal Rights Amendments with our local, state, and federal legislators.
Why do we need an ERA?
The U.S. is the only major nation whose founding document has not protected its citizens against sex discrimination. We live in a country that until now did not include women in its Constitution, except for the right to vote.
The ERA gives full civil rights to women and will protect all people from gender discrimination. While we have some laws that protect against sex discrimination, they are hard to enforce and can be overturned by Congress. A constitutional amendment places equality at the foundation of law, giving it the strictest respect in the courts, bringing an 18th century Constitution into the 21st century. It is long overdue.
These are constitutional issues women face - an ERA addresses them all.
Wait, didn't the ERA already pass?
How do we make it happen NOW?
The ERA was stalled in the 1980's when congressional rules and an ugly political campaign prevented its full ratification by the states. See the ERA timeline here. It has sat mutely for decades since then - until now.
We are now seeing younger Americans joining with the older Americans who have waited lifetimes to see constitutional equality for women. The required 38 states have now ratified. However, there are congressional procedures, court cases and persistent opposition that prevent its full adoption.
The American public supports women's legal equality. Prominent legal opinions support the position that the ERA can now be considered the 28th Amendment as it has met all provisions of Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Now the 118th session of Congress is underway, and the ERA as the 28th amendment must be acknowledged.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) introduced H.J. Res. #25 on January 31st, 2023 with 133 co-sponsors. H.J. Res. #25 would remove the arbitrary ratification deadline for the ERA and recognize the amendment as a valid part of the Constitution.
You can help! Ask your Congressperson to support the Resolution.
The Senate's resolution SJ Res 4 was finally voted on by the Senate on April 24, 2023. The vote to end discussion (cloture) was 51-47 in favor, falling short of the 60 votes necessary to overcome the filibuster. Legislative pyrotechnics were once again used by the Republicans to stop the ERA from full recognition.
the U.S. Constitution
On the federal level, bills to reactivate the ERA have been introduced to the U.S. Congress for decades. This year, since the ERA met all requirements of Article 5 and can be considered the 28th Amendment, resolutions have been introduced in both the House and Senate to acknowledge its validity as part of the Constitution.
Closer to home, we live in a state that ratified the federal ERA in 1974 yet does not prohibit sex discrimination in its own state constitution.
Twenty-six states prohibit sex discrimination in their state constitutions with Delaware and Nevada being recent additions.
In this 2023-24 session, LD 1412 was introduced by Rep. Lois Reckitt (D).
... and the Maine State Constitution
What are we doing at Equal Rights Maine?
How does our Constitution address women, sex discrimination, and equal justice?
That’s what we talk about with our fellow Mainers.
Most Americans think women and men should be treated equally under the law.
We are a growing group of citizens demanding that the 28th Amendment be the ERA. We hold public workshops and debates. We work with organizations, students, and legislators. We speak to our legislators, in Maine and in Washington, D.C. We speak up in Augusta. We have made progress, but real change always needs more voices, more support, more ‘good trouble’ to make it happen.
What can I do?
We need to show that Mainers support the ERA as we advocate with our legislators. Join our list of supporters. Spread the word, help grow our numbers!
Read this website. Talk about what you have learned.
Talk to your family, your friends, your neighbors. Talk to people who didn’t vote the way you did. Help us let people know that we don’t have equal rights for women stated in the Constitution. Speak up for an Equal Rights Amendment.
How can I speak up?
Call your Members of Congress. Call regularly. Recruit others to do the same.
How are we heard?
With many voices, speaking often. Our Members of Congress need to know what we think, how we plan to vote. Calls may be better than emails but do both.
The calls are counted. Keep it simple. Write notes for yourself before you call. Give your zip code with your name. Then, call today.
Banner image courtesy of Patrisha McLean; Violence Against Women thumbnail image courtesy of EPA