Warner and Kaine Join Colleagues in Bipartisan Measure to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
Jan 31 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined their colleagues in introducing a bicameral and bipartisan resolution to immediately remove the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and take a critical step toward enshrining equality for women in the United States Constitution. The introduction of this resolution follows the 2020 passage of an amendment by the Virginia General Assembly, which made Virginia the 38th and final state needed to ratify the ERA.
“In 2020, Virginia carried this important issue across the finish line by becoming the final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. It’s time to remove this trivial deadline, recognize the will of the states, and ensure that women’s equality is fully and expressly recognized in our Constitution,” said Sen. Warner.
“In 2020, Virginia took action to enshrine equality for women into the Constitution by becoming the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment,” said Sen. Kaine. “Now, it’s time for Congress to act to remove the arbitrary time limit for ratification and finally guarantee women equal protection under the Constitution.”
The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced 100 years ago to codify gender equality. Since 1923, the constitutional amendment was introduced in every session of Congress until it passed through both the House and Senate in 1972. Congress then placed a seven-year deadline on the ratification process before extending the deadline to 1982. During this period of time only 35 states ratified the ERA, failing to meet the 38 state threshold before the arbitrary deadline.
With the recent ratifications of the ERA by Nevada in 2017, Illinois in 2018 and Virginia in 2020, all that remains is a resolution from Congress to remove the arbitrary deadline, recognize these recent ratifications, and certify the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Ratifying the ERA, which states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex”, would affirm women’s equality in our Constitution, enshrining the principle of women’s equality and an explicit prohibition against sex discrimination in the nation’s foundational document.
As the 28th Amendment, the ERA would serve as a new tool – for Congress, for federal agencies, and in the courts – to advance equality in the fields of workforce and pay, pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, reproductive autonomy, and protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. Enshrining this protection in our Constitution would ensure enduring protections for all Americans across the country. It would also signal to the courts that they should apply a more rigorous level of review to laws and government policies that discriminate on the basis of sex, making it more likely for them to be struck down.
In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, this legislation was sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), as well as Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Angus King (I-Maine), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).