In 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which aimed to give equal legal protection to all citizens, regardless of sex. However, as of 2019, the ERA has yet to be added to the Constitution. When sent to the states for ratification in 1982, only 35 out of the required 38 states ratified the ERA. Since then, after staying dormant for over 36 years, there has been a revival to pass the ERA. In 2017, Nevada officially ratified the ERA and the following year, Illinois did as well. In 2019, Virginia nearly became the 38th state to ratify, but the measure was rejected on the house floor.
Proponents of the ERA argue that the bill is a necessary safety net that would protect women from sex discrimination not covered by the 14th amendment. They argue that the rhetoric of the 14th amendment (regarding sex) is too vague to prohibit cases of sex-based discrimination such as harassment, unequal pay, and domestic violence.
Opponents of the ERA argue that the amendment’s legal protections are unnecessary because they are already included in other legislation such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the 14th Amendment, and Title IX. They also argue that the federal legislation would limit state discretion over abortions, single-sex areas, (such as bathrooms and dormitories), and child custody procedures.
As of now, there are no legal protections in the Constitution that specifically prohibit discrimination based on sex. What do you think? Should the Equal Rights Amendment be added to the Constitution?
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