Equal Rights Amendment Re-introduced Today
This afternoon Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) re-introduced the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA currently has 160 co-sponsors in the House, including Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), Chair of the Congressional Women's Caucus.
Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal spoke at a press conference today announcing the bill's re-introduction, stating, "Women and men deserve and need full equal rights. Without constitutional equality, too many women, and thereby too many families, are cheated. Americans overwhelmingly support constitutional equality. It is time- in fact, it's long overdue- for us to move forward. That's why the Feminist Majority and other women's organizations are this year going to score co-sponsorship of the ERA as a yes vote for constitutional equality for women; failure to co-sponsor will be on record as a vote against women's constitutional equality. It is simple as that-do you value women as full equal citizens under the law or not?" The National Organization for Women will also score whether or not a Member of Congress supports the ERA.
In response to the US Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Wal-Mart in the sex discrimination case, Representative Carolyn Maloney underscored the importance of passing the ERA: "The Wal-Mart case reviewed by the Supreme Court this week is a classic example of how far attitudes must still come. The facts of the case support the view that over a million women were systematically denied equal pay by the nation's largest employer."
The passage of the ERA is even more important today following Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's comment this year that the U.S. Constitution does not protect women from sex discrimination. In an interview with the California Lawyer, Scalia stated that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees equal justice under the law for all persons, does not prohibit sex discrimination under the laws of the United States or its states.
It's time to specify in the Constitution that women have equal rights in all aspects of life: including but not limited to employment, sovereignty over one's body, as a citizen, a consumer, business owner, caretaker, and creator of free speech.