Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Norma Torres (35th District of California)
February 13, 2020
Lawmakers Remove Arbitrary Deadline as Final State Needed for Ratification Votes to Approve
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) released the following statement today after voting for House Joint Resolution 79 (H. J. Res. 79), legislation that would remove the deadline set for States to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The bill would ensure recent ratifications by Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia are given full effect, and women across the United States would have equal rights under the law enshrined in the Constitution.
“Equal rights should not be subject to change based on who is in power or the political winds of the moment,” Rep. Torres said. “Our country has a long, sad, and painful history of treating women as second-class citizens – we were left out of the Constitution, deprived of our right to vote, paid less for our work and discriminated against simply for being who we are. Many of the transgressions against women continue to this day, which is why the Equal Rights Amendment is urgently needed.”
Originally passed by bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate in 1971 and 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment initially required 38 States to ratify it by 1979. Congress later extended that deadline to 1982, and by the end of that year, 35 State legislatures had ratified the ERA. Recently, Nevada and Illinois ratified the ERA, and on January 27, 2020, Virginia became the 38th State – the final one needed – to ratify. By removing the 1982 deadline for ratification, H. J. Res. 79 would take a critical step toward ensuring that the ERA officially becomes the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.
“The values that drive us to change the Constitution don’t depend on deadlines,” Torres continued. “Either our society recognizes and believes in the worth of every woman, as it clearly should, or we have lost our way. If an affirmation of equal rights falters in procedural hurdles, it will telegraph to the world that we are far off course.”