The Equal Rights Amendment

Potential Amendment XXVIII

What is The Equal Rights Amendment?

"Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed the by the feminists of the National Women's Party in 1923, but after proposal, the amendment must be ratified by three fourths of state legistalatures. In the 1970s there began a hard push for the ratification of the ERA. Organizations like the National Organization of Women and their leaders provided arugment after argument in support of the potential amendment. They finally got thirty out of thirty-eight states to ratify in 1973. But, then campaigns such as the Stop-ERA Campaign began to protest and the number of ratifying states began to trickle. By 1982, the expiring year, protests from the Stop-ERA worked, and only 35 states ratified.

What the ERA would do and who would it benefit?

The ERA would benefit women across the nation. This amendment would guarantee that the rights the Constitution protects are held equally by all citizens without regard to sex.

ERA Protests

Estimated Cost:

Pros and Cons of the ERA

There are many benefits regarding the ERA. One being, the Constitution does not guarantee that the rights it protects are held equally by all citizens. The first and only right that is equal amongst men and women is the right to vote. The second being the ERA would provide a clear judicial stand for sex discrimination cases. Some courts are confused and inconsistent when dealing with cases revolved around sex discrimination, so the ERA would make this more lucid. Lastly, the ERA would grant equal rights on the basis of sex in a uniform and inclusive way unlike the Constitutions 14th Amendment that was first applied to sex discrimination in 1971 and hasn't been interpreted since. However, people do find cons within the ERA. One problem being, the Amendment is very vaguely worded and is considered tricky. This could lead to confusion and a lack of gender equality. Secondly, the ERA would take away protective laws like sexual assault and alimony. Lastly, the tendency for the mother to take the child in a divorce case would be eliminated. Some people even stretched the cons into saying that the ERA would lead to ban of gender specific bathrooms, in this case, men and women would have to share a restroom.