Source: United States Senator for Virginia Tim Kaine
February 13, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement on the House of Representatives’ passage of legislation to immediately remove the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), paving the way for full and equal protections to women in the Constitution. In November, Warner and Kaine cosponsored similar legislation in the Senate, S.J. Res. 6, with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to remove the ERA deadline. Last month, the Virginia General Assembly passed a historic resolution to make Virginia the 38th and final state needed to ratify the ERA.
“We’re thrilled the House has passed legislation to ensure there’s still time to ratify the ERA, and we urge the Senate to follow suit. We’re so proud Virginia made history last month by becoming the 38th state to ratify the ERA. Passing this legislation in the Senate would honor the tireless work of all who worked on this historic effort,” said the Senators. “It’s unacceptable that one hundred years after ratification of the 19th amendment, women are still not explicitly recognized as equal under our Constitution. The ERA is critical to finally guarantee equal protections to women and bolster our ability to fight gender discrimination.”
Article V of the Constitution contains no time limits for ratification of amendments, and the states finally ratified the Twenty-Seventh Amendment in 1992 regarding Congressional pay raises more than 200 years after Congress proposed it in 1789 as part of the original Bill of Rights. The ERA time limit was contained in a joint resolution, not the actual text of the amendment, and Congress has already once voted to extend the ERA ratification deadline. The bipartisan resolution sponsored by Warner and Kaine would put to bed any potential ambiguity over adding the ERA to the Constitution.
The Equal Rights Amendment would finally give women full and equal protection under the Constitution. It reads as follows:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.