Below is Delegate Fowler's letter to his constituents about the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Thank you for contacting me about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). According to the Archivist of the United States, the ERA is not currently pending before the states but is categorized as a failed amendment. The General Assembly does not have the power to ratify an amendment to the Constitution of the United States not currently pending before the states.
Congress submitted the ERA to the states in 1972 with a seven-year deadline for ratification. The amendment appeared to be moving quickly towards adoption with 35 states ratifying it when concerns were raised about potential unintended consequences, including the loss of religious liberties and its impact on public facilities.
Once those concerns were raised not only did no new states ratify the amendment, but 5 states rescinded their previous ratification. As the original 1979 deadline approached, Congress extended the deadline to 1982. When the second deadline passed, Congress declined to extend it again, effectively withdrawing the amendment from consideration. This fact was generally recognized by both proponents and opponents of the amendment at the time, as efforts to get additional states to ratify it ceased for more than a decade. Not only that but in 1983 proponents introduced a new ERA in Congress because the original amendment was no longer valid.
- Parent Category: Thank You Breakfast 2018