Date: January 11, 2020 11:12AM
First proposed by suffragist Alice Paul, the ERA, then known as the "Lucretia Mott Amendment," was first introduced to Congress in 1923, but the effort to pass it -- which requires the approval of three-fourths of states, or 38, to be added to the Constitution -- didn't gain real traction until the women's movement of the late 1960s and '70s. In March 1972, Congress finally passed the ERA and sent it to the states to ratify within a seven-year window, later extending the deadline to 1982.
In the mid-70s, the ERA looked headed for ratification. But after an initial flurry of approvals, support for the ERA stalled under pressure from social conservatives and anti-feminists like the late Phyllis Schlafly, the organizer of the "STOP ERA" campaign. She claimed, among other things, that it would lead to more widespread abortion and require women to serve in the military.
"ERA means abortion funding, means homosexual privileges, means whatever else," she once said.
By the 1982 deadline, only 35 states had ratified the amendment, though five that had earlier passed it had by then rescinded their support. Despite the ERA being reintroduced in every Congress since the early 1980s, the effort to add it to the Constitution languished for decades.
Recently, the rise of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, along with more women in legislative power, has renewed interest in passing the ERA. Two other states -- Nevada in 2017 and Illinois in 2018 -- have since ratified it, bringing the total number of states to 37. (ERA proponents reject the argument that states can rescind ratifications they've already passed.)
The possibility that a 38th state is primed to pass the ERA has already triggered conservative legal challenges.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2020 11:13AM by anybody.