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Congressman Thompson Votes to Remove the Deadline from the Preamble of the Equal Rights Amendment

February 13, 2020
Press Release




WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson voted to remove the deadline from the preamble of the Equal Rights Amendment by passing H.J.Res. 79.


“The passage of H.J.Res. 79 is a critical step toward ensuring the ERA officially becomes the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Thompson said. “Ratifying the ERA is long overdue and necessary to protect women’s rights. Removing any legal ambiguities surrounding the deadline would reaffirm our support for the ERA and women’s equality.”


The Equal Rights Amendment simply states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.” It would finally affirm women’s equality in our Constitution – enshrining the principle of women’s equality and an explicit prohibition against sex discrimination in the nation’s foundational document.


The ERA was first proposed in 1923 just a few years after women gained the right to vote. It was also an amendment in the Republican Party’s presidential platform as early as 1940 and was supported by both Democrats and Republicans under Presidents Nixon, Carter and Ford.


The ERA that passed the House and Senate with bipartisan majorities in 1971 and 1972 originally had a clause requiring it be ratified by 1979 which was later extended before it expired. By the end of 1982, 35 of the 38 required state legislatures had voted to ratify the ERA. Nevada ratified the ERA in 2017, Illinois in 2018 and, in January 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify it.


This Constitutional Amendment would give women in the United States a critical tool in a legal arsenal to combat everyday discrimination women face including pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual and domestic violence. It would provide a single, national baseline protection against sex discrimination across the country. The ERA would apply the most rigorous judicial review to laws and government policies that discriminate against women and it would ensure that laws or policies that are inconsistent with equality for women be struck down.