Washington—Two years to the day after Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) today joined with Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to call for the Senate to pass S.J. Res. 1 to remove the arbitrary deadline that prevents the formal adoption of the amendment.
“Equal rights for women shouldn’t be delayed because of an arbitrary deadline,” said Senator Feinstein. “Now that enough states have ratified the amendment, it’s time for the Equal Rights Amendment to go into effect so that women are finally provided equal protection under the Constitution.”
“America has a long and proud history of amending our Constitution to further the progress of equality for all,” said Senator Padilla. “I’m proud to support removing this arbitrary deadline and finally recognizing the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.”
After the Equal Rights Amendment itself was first passed by the Senate in 1972, Congress changed the seven-year deadline to 10-years, setting a precedent for such authority. There is no deadline in the ERA itself. Legal enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution should take place two years after two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-quarters of the states ratify. Nevada ratified the ERA in March 2017, Illinois in May 2018 and Virginia in January 2020 as the thirty-eighth state.
Article V of the Constitution contains no time limits for ratification of amendments, and the states finally ratified the 27th 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.
S.J.Res. 1, which would officially remove the deadline for ERA ratification, now has 52 cosponsors.
“There should be no deadline on equality,” said Senator Cardin. “Most Americans already think the Equal Rights Amendment is part of the Constitution. The needed 38 states have completed their legal ratification. We now need to remove any ambiguity and finally record the 28th amendment to our Constitution.”
“Congress certainly has the authority under the Constitution to change deadlines for ratification, and our legislation would do just that,” Senator Murkowski said. “I’ll continue to push for its passage as there should never be a time limit on achieving equality for women.”
“The ERA Coalition is excited to see the addition of the remaining members of the Democratic caucus as co-sponsors on S.J. Res. 1,” said Carol Jenkins, president and CEO of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women's Equality. “We now have a bipartisan majority that wants to see the removal of the time limit from the Equal Rights Amendment's preamble. This just proves that there are still ways to work together to accomplish big things. We eagerly await a vote in the Senate.”