Congratulations, America! On January 27th, 2020 the thirty-eighth state ratified the Equal Rights Amendment! But now the Trump administration is blocking ERA from being added to the U.S. Constitution.
On June 1st, Equal Means Equal and its co-plaintiffs accused the Trump administration of causing “catastrophic legal injury” by refusing to carry out the will of the people and acknowledging the Equal Rights Amendment became the 28th Amendment to the Constitution when Virginia ratified the measure on January 27th of 2020.
In its response to the government’s motion to dismiss the case, plaintiffs Equal Means Equal, the Yellow Roses and Katherine Weitbrecht alleged by not validating ERA ratification, the lack of action by the Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero will “undermine the integrity of American democracy at its core by depriving the people of its bedrock right to amend their Constitution.”
The lawsuit filed in January in U.S. District Court in Boston argues that congressionally imposed deadlines for states to ratify the ERA are unconstitutional and called on the courts to compel the Archivist of the United States to officially record ERA as the 28th amendment to the Constitution. The complaint also calls on the courts to reject any attempts by states to rescind their prior ratifications of the ERA. It is the first lawsuit regarding the newly ratified ERA to arrive in court, and the only ERA lawsuit brought entirely by women.
Kamala Lopez & Natalie White are proud to share their new article in the American Constitution Society’s legal forum. We would like to give special thanks to former Senator Russell Feingold, President of the ACS, for his support of EME and the ERA.
“Before we made Equal Means Equal, people told us either the ERA had passed, or it was irrelevant; then we showed them why it still mattered. Before we won Nevada in March of 2017, people insisted the original ERA was dead and buried, that we’d have to start from scratch; but we kept pushing for the three-state strategy, unwilling to throw away 35 state ratifications and over a century of struggle by millions of American women and our allies.
After Nevada ratified, we were told that Illinois was impossible; for the last 25 years they had pushed for a yes vote in the House to no avail – it would never happen. We rallied groups, established and newly formed, to come together across the state: across ethnic and racial divides; in rural and urban areas; across party lines; and Illinois ratified ERA on May 30th of 2018. And finally, in Virginia, where deeply rooted incumbents responsible for the egregious racially gerrymandered maps in that state laughed at our efforts to mobilize women, youth and people of color around the Equal Rights Amendment. We were a source of some amusement and derision for the first three years. This past year? Not so much.
So here we are. American women have delivered what was asked of us almost a hundred years ago, three-fourths of the states, and now they are telling us that it’s not good enough. That we need to go back and start again. Stay in our second-class legal status for another few decades.
Accept and absorb the deep disrespect that the exclusion of women from our Constitution represents. Well, we won’t accept it any longer. We demand basic human equality and fully equal protection under the law for the first time in our nation’s history.”
– written by Kamala Lopez & Natalie White for ACS Legal Forum, June 3rd 2020
Once ERA receives 38 state ratification of a proposed Constitutional Amendment, National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) and publishes the amendment along a certification of the ratification and it becomes part of the Constitution without further action by the congress.
Equal Means Equal will keep you informed of the status of ratification in your state and what actions you can take locally to pass the ERA.
Let’s do this.
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Join the dozens of women’s organizations and thousands of women using the EQUAL MEANS EQUAL documentary film to reinvigorate the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment!
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In 1776, our nation declared that all men are created equal and are endowed with inalienable rights, leaving women to fight for equal treatment under the law. This has been at the foundation of over 240 years of discriminatory attitudes and treatment of half the country’s population.
It’s time the Constitution acknowledged women’s rights as citizens of this country. The Equal Rights Amendment will set a precedent that guarantees equality, justice, and respect for all people under the law. Only when Equal Means Equal can we all meet our true potential.
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