Latest 4ERA News
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Women's Equality Day is August 26, 2009
This day was established by an act of Congress in recognition of the day the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified and to honor those women who continue to fight for women's equality. Each year organizations around the country hold events and programs celebrating the day. Below is a sample of these events by state. Please check local media for events in your area.
The re-introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment on July 21 by co-sponsors representing both political parties was seen as a potential turning point by ERA advocates. "The fact that a Republican member of Congress is co-sponsoring the resolution to ratify the ERA is significant," said Idella Moore of 4ERA.org. "We have worked tirelessly over the last few years to promote the ERA as a non-partisan measure. We have succeeded in some of our state campaigns where we've had members of both parties support state resolutions. However, at the Federal level, we have been hoping the Republican party, which was the first party to add the ERA to it's platform back in 1940, would come back onboard. Today, we are thrilled to see Judy Biggert (R-IL) co-sponsoring the ERA resolution in the House. We hope her sponsorship will encourage other Republican members of Congress to do likewise."
On July 21, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) will re-introduce a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Maloney has been the primary sponsor of the ERA resolution for a number of years. She is usually joined by Senator Ted Kennedy, who is the chief sponsor in the Senate. Due to illness, Senator Kennedy has not yet proposed the resolution in the Senate.
of organizations who support passage of the ERA will gather at the House
Triangle (on the Capitol side of Independence Avenue across from the Rayburn
building) between 10:00am and 1:00pm to hear Maloney speak.
Assemblywoman Kathy McClain and 18 other members of the Nevada Assembly introduced a joint resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment on March 9, 2009. Senators co-sponsoring the resolution are Parks, Carlton, Copening, Breeden, Horsford, Wierner and Woodhouse.
AJR 3 was assigned to the committee on Elections, Procedures, Ethics, and Constitutional Amendments. We are awaiting information on a hearing date for the resolution.
Phyllis Schlafly Hospitalized
February 25, 2009
Phyllis Schlafly, long time opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment and founder of Eagle Forum, fell and broke her hip yesterday. A group of about 150 Berkeley, California students witnessed Schlafly fall as she was leaving the stage after delivering a speech. According to one report, she was hospitalized and operated on in California. The 85-year-old Schlafly is often credited as having single-handedly defeated the Equal Rights Amendment during the ERA ratification efforts of the 1970s. She was the leader and spokeswoman of STOP ERA. She continues to work against the new efforts to rafity the ERA and in 2007 spoke at a committee hearing in the Arkansas legislature against adoption of an ERA ratification resolution which the committee was considering.
ERA Resolutions Filed in Arkansas
State Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville, filed Senate Joint Resolution 12 on February 23, 2009. The measure would add Arkansas to the list of 35 states that have ratified the ERA since it was passed by Congress in 1972.
The resolution has 18 Senate co-sponsors, including Madison. The Senate resolution has enough co-sponsors to ensure its passage in that chamber.
A concurrent resolution by State Rep. Lindsley Smith, D-Fayetteville, has 43 co-sponsors. It will need support from 51 representatives if it is to pass in the House. Smith sponsored a similar resolution during the 2007 legislative session. A House committee vote resulted in a tie and no further progress was made during that session.
Later that year a poll of Arkansans showed 73% of the public in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment. The Arkansas legislature meets every two years, so this is the first time since the poll that the measure will be voted upon.
Elly Peterson, an ERA advocate and the first woman to serve as Michigan GOP chairwoman and vice chair of the Republican National Committee, died June 9, 2008 at 94. She is remembered as warm, hardworking and dynamic - a woman who pursued decency in politics.
I met Elly for the first time in April 1976 at the Governor's Mansion in Lansing, MI. At Elly's request, First Lady Helen Milliken convened a meeting of ERA supporters that included the presidents of women's organizations, representatives of labor and both political parties. The purpose was to organize a coalition that would present a united front to the legislature and the media in order to counter Stop-ERA.
Michigan was among the first states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in May 1972. Early in 1976, Stop-ERA introduced a bill to rescind Michigan's ratification. When the bill failed in the Michigan House, members of Stop-ERA attacked the legislators with their umbrellas.
At the time, Elly Peterson was serving as Republican Co-Chairwoman of ERAmerica along with her Democratic counterpart, Liz Carpenter. ERAmerica was a national coalition formed for the sole purpose of advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment.
Although the rescission attempt failed, Elly believed that the many pro-ERA organizations in Michigan needed to coalesce in order to speak with one voice. Thus Michigan ERAmerica was formed. Helen Milliken and U.S Representative Martha Griffiths became the Honorary Republican and Democratic Co-Chairs. Formation of Michigan ERAmerica proved to be a wise decision because there were two additional rescission attempts which the coalition successfully thwarted.
Elly remained a moderate as her party became more conservative. She rebelled against the 1980 Republican national platform when support for the Equal Rights Amendment was dropped. She was very disappointed because the GOP was the first national party to put the ERA in its platform in 1940. As part of the protest, ERA supporters at the Republican national convention in Detroit wore their GOP elephant pins upside down.
Campaign records show that Elly contributed to Hillary Clinton's campaign earlier this year. Elly Peterson was a women's rights advocate who represented politics at its best. She will be missed.
On April 1, 2008, the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee passed a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The vote of 8 to 3 means the resolution now moves to the Senate Rules Committee. There has yet to be action on the concurrent resolution in the Florida House.
Arkansans support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment
In a just released poll, 73 percent of Arkansas voters want Arkansas to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The annual poll was conducted by Dr. Janine Parry and Dr. Bill Schreckhise, professors of Political Science at the University of Arkansas. Their question about the Equal Rights Amendment was added to this year's poll because of the current campaign to have Arkansas ratify the ERA. This is great news for 4ERA members and ERA supporters in Arkansas. They plan to reintroduce an ERA ratification resolution during the next legislative session in 2009.
Last spring, Governor Mike Beebe came out in support of ERA ratification as did all of Arkansas' constitutional officers. A resolution to ratify the ERA was introduced into the state legislature by Rep. Lindsley Smith, but received a tie vote in a legislative committee and therefore was not sent to be voted on by the full legislature.
Allie Hixson Dies
Allie Corbin Hixson, a former Louisville resident who took up the cause of women's rights at the age of 50 and dedicated much of her final three decades to attaining equality for women, died Tuesday in Minneapolis. She was 83.
Hixson delivered the opening speech before thousands at a 1977 rally in Washington, D.C., commemorating the 57th anniversary of women's right to vote.
"We will make it in our time," she told them. "We will become first-class citizens, every woman in the USA. For my entire lifetime, women have begged and pleaded and argued and reasoned -- and some have died without seeing passage" of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, she said.
Marsha Weinstein, a former executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Women, said the proposed amendment "was a passion" in Hixson's life.
"She was the feminist extraordinaire," Weinstein said yesterday. "She truly was one of our foremothers for contemporary feminism. She was intense."
Hixson was a key coordinator of Kentucky's International Women's Year meeting in Lexington in 1977 and a state delegate to the national conference later that year in Houston. Hixson was co-chairwoman of the Kentucky Pro-ERA Alliance, formed in 1975 to keep the General Assembly from rescinding its ratification of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. She recently was inducted into the "Kentucky Women Remembered" hall of fame at the state capitol.
Louisiana ERA Resolution Narrowly Defeated in Committee
On May 15, Louisiana state representative Marcia Walker's resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment was heard by the Committee on Civil Law and Procedure. During the hearing debate was heated as proponents countered the arguments offered by the opposition. In a 5-4 vote the committee decided not to send the resolution to the House of Representatives for a full vote.
Arkansas ERA Resolution Update
April 1, 2007
On February 7 a tie vote in the AR State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee left the ERA resolution (HRC 1002) in a deferred status. Over the next few weeks, Rep. Lindsley Smith and Arkansas ERA supporters worked to convince opposing committee members to vote in favor of passing it out of committee for a vote in the AR House. However, as the end of session approached, Rep. Smith took the difficult decision not to call for a committee vote again during this session.
Rep. Smith issued this statement to 4ERA.org: "I am confident that we were successful in our effort to educate legislators and citizens as to the importance of this equality amendment. I was gratified by the tremendous effort of those who argued for equal rights for women, and I hope that everyone will remain committed to the cause. We have two years to refine our strategy and enhance our political skills to be more persuasive with individual legislators. Five of the committee members who voted against the ERA are term-limited and will not be back in the next session. There is much we can do to support the legislators who supported the ERA and we can work to elect candidates who support the amendment and give them the chance to vote for constitutionally-protected equality of rights."
Our 4ERA members in Arkansas sent us this report:
Our combined efforts during the 2007 regular session of the Arkansas General Assembly resulted in substantial gains. Most notable were:
With that as prelude, we now face our future more unified and re-dedicated to the goal of passing the ERA Resolution in 2009. Our efforts, plus the media attention they generated, means we've been able to educate a greater number of Arkansas citizens about the ERA and to attract a broader base of multi-partisan supporters.
we now have the opportunity to build on that base of support to launch
a full scale, state-wide campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
in Arkansas. Short and long term strategies and the implementation of
an advocacy network will be implemented. This process is slated to begin
shortly after the end of the 2007 session in order to maximize the upcoming
Senators Kennedy and Boxer, Representatives Maloney and Nadler to re-introduce the ERA today
March 27, 2007
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) will announce the reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment today. This year, there are more than 190 original co-sponsors of the Equal Rights Amendment. The Senators and Members will be joined by leading women's rights groups for the reintroduction with the hopes that soon women will finally achieve official equality in America.
The Members will also announce the plans for forthcoming hearings on the Equal Rights Amendment in the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, chaired by Rep. Nadler. The ERA has not been heard in a Congressional committee since the early 1980s.
North Dakota ERA Resolution Passed
March 9, 2007
ND State Representative Pam Gulleson
This afternoon, the North Dakota legislature passed an historic resolution recommitting the state to ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment. Introduced in late January by State Representative Pam Gulleson, the resolution acknowledges ratification of the ERA by the 44th Legislative Assembly of North Dakota in 1975 and declares March 9, 2007 North Dakota Equal Rights Amendment Recognition Day. The resolution also calls for a recommitment to the ERA by all other states and for the amendments full ratification by Congress.
Representative Gulleson told 4ERA: "I am very pleased about the passage of this resolution today. Although North Dakota passed the ERA in 1975, our work wont be complete until it is ratified and becomes the 28th Amendment to the US Constitution."
When we first spoke with Gulleson a few weeks ago she told us she was unaware of the current campaign to finish ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and was prompted to introduce the resolution because of Womens History Month and the fact that many people do not realize the ERA is not in our US Constitution.
The concurrent resolution (HCR3032) was passed unanimously by the House on February 13 . This afternoon, the Senate passed the resolution with unanimous support. "It is especially rewarding the resolution had bipartisan sponsors and strong support throughout the assembly," added Gulleson.
Gulleson, a Democrat from Rutland, has served in the North Dakota legislature since 1993. Her bi-partisan co-sponsors on the resolution were House Minority Leader Merle Boucher (D), Majority Leader Rick Berg (R) and Rep. Kathy Hawken (R). Sponsors in the Senate were Majority Leader Bob Stenahjem (R) and Assistant Minority Leader Carolyn Nelson (D).
Now that she knows there are ERA ratification efforts in other states which never ratified the ERA, Rep. Gulleson says:
"I am very hopeful lawmakers in the other states which have already ratified the ERA will pass similar resolutions. This is something we can do to show support for the advocates who continue to work to get the ERA fully ratified, and to remind our constituents that in the year 2007, a full 35 years after passage in Congress, the US Constitution still does not guarantee women equal treatment under the law. Our work is not complete until final ratification."
"This spontaneous action by ND lawmakers, who were otherwise unaware of our current ERA campaign, is very encouraging. It demonstrates the broad support and sustained appeal the ERA enjoys," said Idella Moore, 4ERA.org Executive Officer. "I urge all 4ERA.org members living in the states which have ratified the ERA to take up this challenge from North Dakota and ask their legislatures to pass resolutions of recommitment to the Equal Rights Amendment."
AR ERA Resolution Deferred, Loses Co-Sponsors
February 7, 2007
and from Arizona . . .
SCR 1019, the Senate Concurrent Resolution calling for passage of the ERA has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ed Ableser, sponsor, has asked Speaker of the House Jerry Weiers to assign it to another committee because Eddie Farnsworth, chair of Judiciary, has repeatedly said he would not hear it. The House bill number is HCR 2046.
Ratification Resolution Just Filed in Arizona
In an interview yesterday afternoon with Arizona ERA advocate Carolyn Maxon she told us a Senate concurrent resolution (SCR 1019) was filed on Monday, the House resolution will be filed today. Sponsors are State Senator Meg Burton Cahill and State Representative Ed Ableser. Both resolutions have bi-partisan support..
We urge all of our 4ERA members in Arizona to take action to support passage of these resolutions. Contact your legislators to tell them to co-sponsor. If you live in Arizona and want to get involved with the AZ ERA campaign, please contact us at info@4ERA.org .
Rally in Arkansas Generates Bi-Partisan Support for the ERA
January 24, 2007
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe was joined by over 200 ERA supporters this morning as he announced his support for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The Capitol Rotunda in Little Rock was filled with legislators and representatives of ERA-endorsing organizations from around the state. Hosted by Arkansas Business and Professional Women, the rally culminated in Rep. Lindsley Smith and Senator Sue Madison filing a joint resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
The House resolution garnered bi-partisan support from sixty-six co-sponsors, a comfortable margin over the 51 needed for passage. Senator Madison's resolution has the sponsorship of ten senators. Eighteen members of the Senate will need to support her resolution for it to pass. Both Smith and Madison are hopeful the success of the rally this morning will mean the resolution gains more co-sponsors.
Speakers at the rally included Lt. Governor Bill Halter, Treasurer Martha Shoffner and Secretary of State Charlie Daniels. Their remarks were followed by comments from legislators and from representatives of these participating organizations:
Arkansas Business & Professional Women
American Association of Retired Persons
American Association of University Women
Arkansas Education Association
Arkansas Federation of Democrat Women
Coalition for Peace and Justice
League of Women Voters
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Network of Executive Women
Womens Action for New Directions
Womens Foundation of Arkansas
Womens Chamber of Commerce
Arkansas ERA Resolution
Has 55 co-sponsors in the House
joint resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment already has enough
co-sponsors for it to pass in the Arkansas House. This week fifty-five
House members signed on as co-sponsors of State Representative Lindsley
Smith's resolution calling for ratification of the ERA. In a phone interview
with 4ERA, Smith said, "I'm excited
about the response. We need 51 votes for passage and we have 55 co-sponsors,
so we are very hopeful." State Senator Sue Madison is the resolution's
sponsor in the Senate. The Arkansas senate voted on a similar resolution
by Madison in 2005. That resolution was defeated but by a margin of just
two votes. Smith thinks the time has come for Arkansas to pass the ERA.
"We've talked about this for far too long, it's time to do it,"
See Action Alert for Arkansas
UN Global Initiative on Gender Equality in Cities
L-R: Lorraine Chilvers, Zonta International, Dr. Venita Kelley, Spelman College, Dr. Marcel Boisard, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, Idella Moore, 4ERA.org, Florence Gbinigie Erhabor, Commissioner for Women's Affairs and Social Development, Nigeria
4ERA Executive Officer Idella Moore was invited to participate in the UN Global Initiative on Gender Equality in Cities. The three day conference included representatives from cities around the world who had conducted gender equality assessments for their municipalities. As a member of the CIFAL Atlanta Gender Equality Assessment team, Idella worked with other participants including Mayor Shirley Franklin to produce a plan for addressing gender equality issues in Atlanta. The conference culminated in the signing of a Gender Equality resolution. CIFAL Atlanta and UNITAR hosted the conference which will convene again in July 2007. Dr. Marcel Boisard, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNITAR was guest speaker.
Zonta International District 11 endorses the ERA
On September 29, 2006, delegates to the 58th Annual Conference of Zonta District 11 on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, unanimously voted to adopt an ERA Resolution endorsing the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The District resolution encourages members of District clubs to educate themselves about the need for including the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution and to work with others in their respective states to advocate for state ratification. This is the second consecutive year that delegates to the District 11 annual conference unanimously adopted an ERA Resolution. District 11 also created a subcommittee on Legislative Awareness and Advocacy to coordinate the ERA effort.
The 2006 Annual District Conference also devoted an entire plenary session to the ERA, The Equal Rights Amendment: Staying the Course to Gender Equality. Speaker, Idella Moore, founder and Executive Officer of 4ERA (a single-issue, non-partisan organization whose mission is to finish ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment) both inspired and informed delegates of the need for adding the ERA to the Constitution.
11 encompasses 39 clubs in the southeast and 5 in the Bahamas and Puerto
Rico. Thirty-eight of the southeastern US clubs are located in states
that have not yet ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.
Gubernatorial Candidates Support the ERA
(August 31, 2006)
Gubernatorial candidates in Arkansas have now joined the gubernatorial candidates in Florida in supporting ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by their states' legislatures. Democratic nominee Mike Beebe and Independent Rod Bryan, said in news articles last week that they would support the ERA. Arkansas' Green Party candidate for governor, Jim Lendall not only supports the ERA but calls for passage of the ERA in his campaign platform.
A resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment was voted on last year in the Arkansas state senate. Although it failed to pass, it did so by a margin of only two votes. Arkansas State Senator Sue Madison and State Representative Lindsley Smith both confirmed in an interview with 4ERA that they plan to re-introduce their ERA resolutions during the 2007 legislative session. Karen Garcia, BPW Arkansas' State Legislative Chair told us: "I'm really excited because right now it looks like we will have an opportunity to pass the ERA during the next session."
Dr. Berta Seitz, ERA Arkansas Coordinator echoed Garcia's optimism: "We in Arkansas who support the ERA are elated to have all of the candidates for governor, with the exception of one, supporting ratification of the ERA. Their willingness to work for its passage will have a tremendous impact on our opportunity to pass the ERA. " Women's organizations around the state will be working to build grassroots and legislative support before the session begins in January 2007.
In Florida, where ERA ratification resolutions have been introduced into the Florida legislature every year since 2003, Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Rod Smith and Jim Davis have both indicated their support for the ratification of the ERA. In June 2005 Florida's ERA Alliance received a statement from Smith explicitly promising his active support for the ERA. Smith said, "I have been unwavering in my commitment to the ERA and have repeatedly co-sponsored, argued for and voted in favor of Senator Margolis' resolution which would provide for its ratification by the Legislature of Florida." He went on to say that if he were elected Governor he would not only join in the campaign to get the ERA ratified, "I'd be leading it." Davis, a Congressman has co-sponsored the resolution in Congress asking for passage of the ERA. (Note: Davis won his party's nomination on Sept. 5, 2006 and will face Republican Charlie Crist in November.)
Although governors have no power over the ratification of federal amendments, they can publicize the issue and lobby for it as it is moves through their legislatures. Support of the Equal Rights Amendment by these gubernatorial candidates is consistent with the policy of the National Governors' Association, which adopted an Equal Rights Policy in 1982. In its policy position statement, the NGA includes the text of the ERA and goes on to say that it "reaffirms its support for the principles embodied in the Equal Rights Amendment".
4ERA moves West
We are pleased to announce that 4ERA Executive Board Member Rita Bauer will be launching a 4ERA campaign on the West Coast. She is relocating to San Diego at the end of June and will be leading 4ERA efforts in California and surrounding states. Rita, a geologist, is a founding Executive Board member of 4ERA. Her enthusiasm for the ERA and her planning and organizational abilities have been invaluable to the establishment and promotion of 4ERA. She brings to California a style of grassroots advocacy which is personable, inclusive, tireless and fun. We hope that our ERA supporters in California will welcome her and become involved with her efforts to educate and activate past and new Equal Rights Amemdment supporters in that region. Her first scheduled presentation is in September to students at Miramar College . Please contact Rita at info@4ERA.org.
in Chief" to feature the Equal Rights Amendment
program is titled "Unfinished Business". The plot summary reads:
"When a longtime outspoken critic of the Equal Rights Amendment passes
away and his wife prepares to take over his Congressional seat, President
MacKenzie Allen sees an opportunity to amend the Constitution and finally
pass the ERA."
Florida ERA Advocates Host Press Conference
On March 13, 2006 Florida's ERA Legislative Council held a press conference launching their ERA lobbying efforts for the 2006 Florida Legislative session. State Senator Gwen Margolis and State Representative Arthenia Joyner, sponsors of ERA ratification resolutions, headed the list of speakers. Representatives from women's organizations from around Florida participated and a special guest from Iraq spoke about her surprise that American women did not have equal rights in our US Constitution.
State Senator Gwen Margolis and State Representative Arthenia Joyner,
lead sponsors of the ERA ratification resolutions in the Florida Legislature
have launched a web site dedicated to their efforts to pass the resolution.
Arthenia Joyner, a renown civil rights and women rights activist who was
elected to the Florida Legislature in 2000 says "The President of
the United States has rightly called for equality of men and women in
the constitutions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it's time to practice what
we preach by including women in the Constitution of the United States."
She said the aim of the site is "to provide the updated information
needed to get that message from women and men of conscience throughout
the state to their elected representatives in Tallahassee."
Florida's Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Support the ERA
14, 2005) Two weeks ago, during a gathering of hundreds of Florida Democrats,
the center of attention were the three men who were launching their gubernatorial
races. Scott Maddox, US Representative Jim Davis and State Senator Rod
Smith differed little on the issues and appeared to be amiable opponents
as they answered questions from the audience.
Subj: Senator Smith's statement on ERA
Date:6/28/2005 9:35:03 AM Eastern Standard Time
To: Sandy Oestriech
"I have been unwavering in my commitment to the ERA and have repeatedly co- sponsored, argued for and voted in favor of Senator Margolis' resolution which would provide for its ratification by the Legislature of Florida. As an adjunct professor in Constitutional Law, I am well-equipped to counter the litany of misunderstandings, mischaracterizations and, in some instances, untruths, leveled at this very important measure. Successful passage of the ERA would be a high watermark in our history as a nation. As your Governor I wouldn't be "in" the fight; I'd be leading it."
"We're glad to see Florida's ratification of the ERA being endorsed by some of Florida's gubernatorial candidates. I hope this will encourage other candidates for state office to recognize the importance of this issue and to join with us in our efforts to gain legal equality for American women and men," said Ms Oestreich.
Equal Rights Amendment Advocates Convene in Atlanta, Ratification Effort Gaining Strength
(Press Release, June 7, 2005)
For the first time this century, Equal Rights Amendment advocates from states which never ratified the ERA convened to discuss a national strategy for gaining ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment will guarantee American women equal rights under the US Constitution. The conference was held on June 3-5, 2005 and hosted by 4ERA, a national, non-partisan ERA organization based in Atlanta. The conference participants included Democrat and Republican women who discussed the campaigns in their states and a strategy to advance the campaign at a national level.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was passed by Congress in 1972 but opponents were successful in placing a time limit on the ratification. By the June 1982 deadline, the amendment had achieved 35 state ratifications, three shy of the 38 needed. Then in 1997, a legal opinion based on the precedent set by the ratification of the 27th amendment in 1992, stated that the ERA is still legally viable and that Congress can finish the ratification process after three more states ratify it. This opinion reinvigorated ardent ERA supporters and they set to work to reactivate past supporters and to educate a new generation. Since then, as part of a three state strategy, the ERA has been introduced into several of the 15 state legislatures that never ratified it. There are also ERA resolutions in Congress.
The last two years has seen a marked increase in ERA activity in the unratified states. In 2003, the Illinois House of Representatives passed the ERA. In Arizona, Missouri, Florida and Virginia legislators regularly introduce ratification resolutions into their General Assemblies and this spring state lawmakers in Nevada and Arkansas also introduced ERA resolutions. Last August a NY state senator proposed an ERA for his state's constitution. New ERA campaigns have begun in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Nevada, Alabama and Mississippi.
The Equal Rights Amendment says, "equality of rights under the law will not be denied or abridged on account of sex" and polls show that its inclusion in the Constitution is still favored by an overwhelming majority of Americans. Yet many Americans think the ERA is already in the Constitution and many women don't know that they have no constitutional guarantee of equality. Lawmakers are equally uniformed. "Our state lawmakers and members of Congress need to be made aware of why the ERA campaign continues because they are the ones who vote on the amendment," noted Idella Moore, 4ERA's Executive Officer. "Since the majority of their constituents are women and the majority of voters are women, they need to recognize the importance of this issue."
supporters point out that a guarantee of equality is still needed because
sex discrimination is still prevalent and particularly damaging to the
economic advancement of women. "Sex discrimination hurts women and
their families," said Sandra Hufstetler, Louisiana's ERA coalition
leader. According to labor statistics the average family loses over $4000
per annum because of pay inequity. Moore points out that laws are not
protecting women from sex discrimination and sex discrimination cases
are not diminishing. For instance, she reports that in a recent pregnancy
discrimination case in Columbus, Georgia, a young TV reporter was advised
by her company to have an abortion rather than ruin her career. Because
she chose to have her child, the reporter experienced blatant discrimination.
So much so that a jury awarded her $2 million dollars in punitive damages.
However, because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act caps punitive damages
for sex discrimination, the victim will receive only one-tenth of that
award. "This is precisely why sex discrimination in the workplace
continues. Punitive damages are supposed to act as a deterrent, but because
there is a cap on damages to victims of sex discrimination, companies
know they are protected from the full impact of a jury's award,"
ERA advocates realize that their public awareness campaigns have some hurdles. "The myths surrounding the Equal Rights Amendment persist regardless of the fact that it can be demonstrated that these are indeed myths," said Shirley Breeze, who represented Missouri's ERA PAC. Back in the 1970s opponents of the ERA convinced many legislators that unisex toilets, free abortions on demand, same-sex marriage and women being drafted would be the results of the ERA. "These predictions were always baseless, scare tactics," said Breeze. "The myths concern separate issues which the ERA would not affect," added Mary Mosley, also of Missouri's ERA PAC. "For most Americans they are no longer taken seriously as arguments against a guarantee that men and women will be treated equally under the law. Yet some members of the public still associate them with the ERA," she said.
attending the conference ranged from seasoned proponents who lobbied during
the ratification efforts of the 1970s to those who were too young to be
involved when the 1982 deadline shattered the hopes of the estimated 60
million Americans who favored the amendment. "We see the conference
as a natural next step in the renewed effort to finish ratification,"
said Moore, "and we hope it marks the beginning of the next chapter
of the ERA story."
FAU Student Joins Equal Rights Alliance, Inc.
Sandy Oestreich, head of The Equal Rights Alliance in Florida has announced that Tara Laxer will be joining her organization to help spearhead Florida's efforts to ratify the ERA in Florida. Ms Laxer, a student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, organized an ERA rally at FAU in April (see below). In her announcement, Ms Oestreich commended Tara for her enthusiastic support of the ERA and said: "As a result of her obvious commitment and expertise we have invited Tara to partner with me. She will lead another generation, via the Young People for ERA Action in ERA Inc., to complete the dream of Alice Paul, suffragist leader and author of the Equal Rights Amendment."
In accepting the invitation, Ms Laxer stated: "The Equal Rights Alliance's progress is amazing. In just 4 years it has gained 49 legislative cosponsors of our ERA resolution. But we must do more. I think I can help." Ms Laxer is completing her Interdisciplinary Studies undergraduate work with a Certificate in Women's Studies.
ERA Rally in Florida
On April 20, students at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton held an ERA rally. Organizer Tara Laxer says "We need to inform the community that a positive change can be made regardless of party affiliation. This is a simple issue of equality for all Americans that we should all be able to agree upon."
The enthusiastic crowd heard 21 speakers and was entertained by three local bands. The event not only attracted FAU students but men and women from all over southeast Florida. The League of Women Voters were bussed to the rally.
Tara and her student co-chairs Lexi Dick and Alexandra Brooke head up an ERA Action Team whose members plan to visit their Florida legislators this summer. They will be pressing their representatives to vote in favor of the ERA bills that will before the next Legislative Session in March 2006.
ERA fails in the Arkansas State Senate
April 5, 2005 the Arkansas state senate voted on the resolution to ratify
the Equal Rights Amendment. The vote was 16 ayes to 15 nays with 4 members
abstaining. The resolution needed 18 votes to pass.
Arkansas Legislators Introduce ERA ratification resolution
Two Arkansas state legislators are pushing a resolution to ratify the ERA. Senate Joint Resolution 17 by Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville, would give state ratification to the federal amendment.
Rep. Lindsley Smith, D-Fayetteville, plans to carry the resolution in the state House. "Things have changed a lot since the 1970s, and I think we've got a real good shot at passing this," Smith said during a Friday legislative forum in Fayetteville.
Nevada Legislator withdraws her proposed introduction of the ERA
Comment from 4ERA:
The "legal counselors" who advised Assemblywoman McClain to withdraw her proposed resolution ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment appear to be misinformed. Kathleen Hennessey's article says that McClain was dissuaded because she was told that "ratification efforts could only be resurrected by a vote in the U.S. Congress". But history demonstrates that Nevada does not necessarily need permission from Congress to engage in "ratification efforts". We can demonstrate three instances where the actual or perceived ratification status of a federal Constitutional amendment has not deterred states from taking ratification action.
example, some states have ratified amendments AFTER they have been added
to the Constitution. The 19th amendment giving women the right to vote
was added to the Constitution in 1920. Yet some states continued to ratify
the 19th amendment even into the 1970's. So there were unnecessary "ratification
efforts" within these states for an amendment that was already in
latest amendment to our Constitution, The Madison Amendment, languished
unratified for almost 203 years. During the late 1980s and early 1990s
there was a flurry of "ratification efforts" within states to
ratify it although most constitutional scholars considered it dormant.
More importantly in Nevada's case--and for that matter all the ERA unratified
states-- the Madison Amendment was ratified by states even though the
legislatures did not know whether Congress would accept their ratifications.
It was only after the 38th state ratified it that Congress promulgated
the Madison amendment and decided to include it in the Constitution.
4ERA, Executive Officer
ERA to be introduced into Nevada Legislature
On February 16, 2005 Nevada Assembleywoman Kathy McClain announced she would introduce a state resolution ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment. Nevada will join Illinois and Florida as states with pending ERA ratification resolutions.
"We are overjoyed by this news," said Idella Moore, founder of 4ERA. "This is very encouraging to ERA supporters around the country, but especially those working on our campaigns in the unratified states."
4ERA to host Conference of Unratified States
4ERA will host a conference of ERA campaign leaders from the unratified states. The meeting will be held in June in Atlanta, Georgia.
Joyner and Margolis introduce Joint ERA Resolutions in Florida
Florida State Representative Arthenia Joyner (Tampa) and State Senator Gwen Margolis (Miami) have introduced joint ERA ratification resolutions into the Florida Legislature's 2005 session. So far 23 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle have added their names to HCR 203 and SCR 94. This time around ERA supporters think the chance of success is more promising than ever. Supporters feel that the legislative climate has changed and some doors have opened.
Equal Rights Alliance President, Sandy Oestreich, reports: "Our 40 regional ERA Action Teams, the leaders of the Florida Women's Consortium, Business & Professional Women, League of Women Voters, and Association of American University Women have been lobbying for our ERA bills very effectively this year! We are planning ERA rallies on campuses, doing mailings, and speaking out in our communities to propel the ERA forward here."
In March ERA supporters will head to Tallahassee to lobby throughout the legislative session which runs from March through April. "We bring a fabulous group of college interns and join with others of ERA Inc. to lobby legislators nonstop. We don't fool around--we ARE going to get Florida ratified!" says Sandy. Contact her at RatifyERA@cs.com.
Illinois introduces ERA resolution
At the beginning of the 2005 session, Illinois State Representative Lou Lang re-introduced an ERA ratification resolution (HJR CA0003) into the Illinois House of Representatives. Lang, a staunch ERA supporter, says he will continue to sponsor ERA legislation until Illinois passes it.
His ERA ratification resolution passed in the Illnois House in May of 2003 and was quickly sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it was passed just before the session ended. Throughout the rest of the 2003-2004 session, ERA activists reported that a simple majority of state senators supported the resolution, but they never gained the 3/5 majority which Illinois requires for passage of a federal amendment.
Louisiana ERA supporters march in New Orleans
In January, ERA supporters in Louisiana publicized their new state ERA campaign with a march in New Orleans. Veteran ERA activists, Jacqui Ceballos, Felicia Kahn, Shirley Marvin, Jean Helwig and LA ERA President Sandra Hufstetler were joined by many other ERA supporters as they marched through the historic French Quarter.
Louisiana launched their ERA campaign last October and are making great progress towards increasing public awareness and building a strong coalition of ERA supporting organizations.
Congressman Joe Baca introduces
bill to posthumously award a Congressional Gold Medal to Alice Paul, suffragist
and author of The Equal Rights Amendment
On January 26, 2005, Rep. Baca introduced legislation that will award Alice Paul the Congressional Gold Medal for her role in securing passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Rep. Bacas bill, H.R. 311, is the first effort to award Paul with the medal.
Alice Pauls role in United States history cannot be understated, said Rep. Baca. Without her, women might not enjoy many of the rights that they do today. It is time that she received proper recognition from the United States Congress.
Paul, who was born on January 11, 1885, and died on July 9, 1977, dedicated her life to securing suffrage and equal rights for all women. Paul used nonviolent civil disobedience to bring national attention to the womens suffrage movement. She was among the first group to ever picket the White House.
After the 19th Amendment was ratified, Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and fought tirelessly for the states to ratify it. At the time of her death in 1977 the ERA needed only three more states to ratify it. Sadly the amendment was never ratified.
As one of the foremost leaders of the womens suffrage movement, it is absolutely deserving that the Congress award Alice Paul with the Congressional Gold Medal, said Rep. Baca. Alice Paul stood for civil rights for all people, not just women. It is time that the U.S. Congress honors her.
4ERA applauds Congressman Baca's bill honoring Alice Paul and encourages 4ERA members to ask their own members of Congress to sponsor HR 311.
Equal Rights Amendment Activists Mourn the death of Shirley Chisholm
(PRWEB) January 4, 2005 -- Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first woman to run for President, died at her home in Florida on January 1. She was 80 years old.
Moore, founder of 4ERA, an Equal Rights Amendment advocacy organization,
issued this statement:
Sadly, the words she spoke in 1970 regarding the need for a constitutional guarantee of legal equality for women, are still appropriate 35 years later: "[The ERA] provides a legal basis for attack on the most subtle, most pervasive, and most institutionalized form of prejudice that exists. Discrimination against women, solely on the basis of their sex, is so widespread that it seems to many persons normal, natural and right."
4ERA, whose mission and goals echo Ms. Chisholms beliefs of equality, inclusion and the resilience of ideals which are fair and right, will continue to strive to accomplish her dream of first class citizenship for American women."
Illinois Senate fails to call the ERA for a vote
Despite the best efforts of Illinois ERA activists, the Illinois Senate adjourned on November 18, 2004, without ever calling the ERA for a vote. Chief Sponsor Emil Jones, Jr. had vowed he would not call it unless he could be assured of its passage. Although more than a simple majority of senators--including Barack Obama--endorsed the ERA, lllinois requires a 3/5 majority for the passage of amendments. Proponents were within a few senators of having the 3/5 majority, plus 2-3 additional votes for insuring passage.
Rep. Lou Lang, chief sponsor of the ERA in the Illinois House of Representatives (which passed the ERA in May 2003), will re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment in the next session which begins in January 2005. Supporters are hopeful that recent state elections have changed the makeup of the Illinois General Assembly in favor of ERA ratification.
Louisiana Launches State ERA Campaign
Louisiana ERA supporters spent October 9, 2004 organizing a new ERA campaign for their state. Women and men representing organizations from around the state brainstormed and put in place some "next steps" towards promoting the ERA, building coalition and working with legislators. Idella Moore of 4ERA was the guest speaker. For more information contact: Sandra Hufstetler, of the LA ERA Campaign.
New York State Senator Introduces ERA legislation
STATE SENATOR TOM DUANE ANNOUNCES
NYS EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
NEW YORK, Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - New York State Senator Tom Duane (D-WFP-Manhattan) was joined by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), former Congresswoman Liz Holtzman (D-NY), and other supporters of women's equality today to announce his introduction of Bill No. S7753 to create a New York State Equal Rights Amendment.
Senator Duane introduced the legislation, which provides that no person shall be subjected to discrimination in civil rights based on one's sex, and affords equal protection under the law, in the New York State Senate on Monday, August 23. Twenty other states have already passed their own versions of the ERA.
"I continue to be appalled that New York State, in 2004, fails to provide constitutional protections against discrimination and fails to provide equal protection under the law due to a person's sex," stated Senator Duane. "This is insulting to New York's women. They deserve and demand far better. It is time the Legislature fix this glaring omission in the State Constitution."
Congresswoman Maloney, sponsor of legislation in Congress for a federal ERA, added, "The United States is the only industrialized democracy in the world that does not explicitly guarantee equality for women by law. The idea of an Equal Rights Amendment is so fair, and so fundamentally American, that 70% of people believe that it is already in the federal Constitution. The best way to assure equal rights is to pass a federal Equal Rights Amendment, which would apply to all 50 states. I am proud to have introduced the federal ERA in every session of the House of Representatives since 1997. The next best way is to pass a state ERA. Thank you, Senator Duane for introducing this necessary bill."
Former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who in 1977 led the successful effort in Congress to extend the deadline for ratification of the ERA from March 22, 1979 to June 30, 1982, noted that New York was the birthplace of the women's rights movement. "For that reason, it is more critical than ever for New York State - as well as other states - to assure women that their rights to equality are immutable and indestructible. These rights are too precious to be curtailed. These rights are too precarious for us to ignore the need to protect them. These rights, affecting the fate of more than half our population directly, and the rest indirectly, deserve to be enshrined in our constitution itself."
Senator Duane, Congresswoman Maloney and former Congresswoman Holtzman also used the occasion to urge all New Yorkers to celebrate August 26th, "Women's Equality Day." Women's Equality Day was proposed by the late New York Congressmember Bella Abzug and established by a 1971 joint resolution of Congress to mark the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution allowing women to vote. Senator Duane chose to introduce his ERA legislation this week in honor of the women who fought so hard for the 19th Amendment and the right to vote.
New Book Released
The Hungry Heart, A Woman's Fast for Justice by Zoe Ann Nicholson
After 25 years, Zoe has decided
to share her private diary about summer 1982 when she joined 6 women in
a solemn fast for the ERA. Fasting on water only for 37 days she tells
us what she sees, how she feels, what went on.
"As a teacher of U.S. Women's History, if I had to choose one book about the struggle for the Equal Rights Amendment, The Hungry Heart would be that book. In fact, if I had to choose one book which captures the spirit of the women's movement of the late 1970's and 1980's, this would be it. Nicholson's account of the Women's Fast for Justice is the most compelling and profoundly accurate I have ever read about the transformative power of non violent action for social justice and the spiritual journey of one who travels that path." Mary Lee Sargent, Professor Emerita, Parkland College and co-founder of the Grass Roots Group of Second Class Citizens.
order go to: http://www.lunesoleilpress.com/bk-hh.php
An ERA Campaign for Alabama
4ERA member Elizabeth Crandall is the new Alabama ERA Campaign Network Coordinator. Alabama is one of the few unratified states without an active ERA campaign. Please encourage potential ERA supporters in Alabama to contact Elizabeth if they want more information or want to help. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas endorses the ERA
Unanimous Resolution from the
Alabama Arizona, Arkansas, Florida
Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma,
South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.