Apr 27 2023
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement ahead of the Senate’s historic vote on a resolution that would facilitate the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was first introduced 100 years ago to guarantee equal protection for women in the U.S. Constitution:
“In 2020, Virginia made history by becoming the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Today, the Senate has the opportunity to make history by voting to remove the time limit for ratification of the ERA. We urge our colleagues to join us in voting to remove this arbitrary and unnecessary time limit and enshrine equality for women into the U.S. Constitution.”
Warner and Kaine are cosponsors of the bipartisan resolution to remove the time limit for ratification of the ERA. In December 2022, Kaine led members of the Virginia delegation, including Warner, in urging a Senate vote on this important resolution.
The ERA was first introduced in 1923 and passed the House and Senate in 1972. At the time of passage, Congress required three-fourths of the states to ratify the amendment within seven years, although the Constitution does not impose a deadline for ratification of amendments. The 27th Amendment was ratified two centuries after it passed Congress. By 1977, 35 states had ratified the ERA, and in 1978, falling short of the required 38 states for adoption, Congress extended the time limit an additional three years. In 2020, Virginia became the 38th and final state needed for ratification.
If the ERA became the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it would serve as a new mechanism – 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, and reproductive freedom. 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.