Friday, February 14, 2020
The House of Representatives took one giant step Thursday by voting to remove the 1982 ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment.
For a summary of the issues regarding the ratification deadline, see The Arguments as to Why the ERA Can Still be Ratified Now After the Deadline
The U.S. House has voted to remove the deadline on ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in an attempt to revive the amendment.The 232-183 vote fell largely along party lines with five Republicans supporting the measure and zero Democrats opposing it.
Changing the deadline is a key part of one route that some ERA proponents believe would lead to the amendment becoming a part of the Constitution, but the path forward is uncertain.
The proposed amendment says simply, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex," and it has had a renaissance in recent years, with three states ratifying it since 2017.
However, the bill may well be stymied after this vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said earlier this month that he's "personally not a supporter" of the amendment, and the Trump administration's Office of Legal Counsel has said that it considers the ERA "expired."
During debate on the House floor, Republicans leaned on antiabortion and constitutional arguments to oppose the ERA, arguing that enshrining protections for women in the Constitution would mean abortion could not be restricted. Democrats focused on the legality of deadlines and the importance of equal rights.“This has nothing to do with the abortion issue. That is an excuse, not a reason,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), arguing that women are still paid less than men for similar work, and often are shorted on pensions and maternity leaves.