FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2011
ON WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY 2011, MINNESOTA NOW CALLS ON SENS. KLOBUCHAR AND FRANKEN TO CO-SPONSOR NEW LEGISLATION TO RESTART EFFORT FOR EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, the annual observance of the day in 1920 that women were granted the right to vote. On Friday, August 26, 2011, the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Women (MN NOW) is calling on Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to be Senate co-sponsors of House Joint Resolution 47, the bill that seeks to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Equal Rights Amendment, approved by Congress in 1972, was defeated in 1982 when three states failed to ratify it before a deadline included in an accompanying proposing clause. Not all proposed constitutional amendments include a time limit for ratification; indeed, the 27th Amendment, regarding Congressional salaries, was proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1993. “I am certain the senators agree that the constitutional rights of half our nation’s population ought not be subjected to an arbitrary deadline either,” said Minnesota NOW President Shannon Drury.
The text of the Equal Rights Amendment, as drafted by Alice Paul in 1920, reads: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Though our society is certainly far more egalitarian than in Paul’s day, Justice Antonin Scalia told a reporter in January that the Constitution does not, in fact, protect women from legal discrimination. Finally ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment would change that. It would also send a powerful message to our daughters that they are worthy of legal recognition in the organizing document of our nation and society.
“Foremothers like Paul fought for my right to vote, the milestone that we celebrate on Women’s Equality Day,” says Drury. “An Equal Rights Amendment would ensure my six-year-old daughter Miriam’s right to equality under federal law.” Adds MN NOW Vice President Barbra Peterson, “Our state’s current Senators should follow in the footsteps of Minnesota’s previous ERA champions in the Senate, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, by co-sponsoring this legislation.”
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