One hundred years ago, women’s rights activists introduced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to guarantee equal rights for women under the U.S. Constitution. On Thursday, April 27, the Senate will vote on the ERA—the first vote on the ERA in the Senate in 40 years. Among many other benefits to the law, this vote also represents an opportunity to protect survivors of gender-based violence—which even in today’s heated political climate continues to command bipartisan concern and support.
The vote takes on particular importance since, earlier this year, the D.C. Circuit issued a decision in Virginia v. Ferriero, a case which sought to compel the national archivist to certify and publish the ERA after it was ratified by the necessary 38 states. For years, opponents of the ERA have claimed that the final states to ratify the ERA did so too late, while supporters argue that there’s no binding timetable to when the ERA can be considered. The D.C. Circuit dismissed the case on procedural grounds, meaning that—at least for the time being—congressional action would be paramount to the future of the ERA.
The above excerpt was originally published in Ms. Magazine.
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