Rep. Ray Russell co-sponsored a North Carolina House of Representatives bill this week to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the US Constitution. 37 other states have ratified ERA, one state short of final ratification. North Carolina could become the 38th state, pushing the amendment to final approval as a US Constitutional Amendment. A companion bill was filed in the NC Senate.
The ERA would provide that “Equal rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Rep. Russell said, “Women and men, children of mothers, grandchildren of grandmothers, and (for many including me) fathers of daughter: All of us have good reasons to make sure women have the equal rights under the law.”
As US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated: “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.” Rep. Russell believes that equal rights for women should be directly stated in the Constitution.
The amendment was written by Alice Paul and was first introduced in the US Congress in 1923. It finally passed both houses March 22, 1972 and was sent to the states for ratification. By 1982, 35 of the required 38 states approved the amendment. In March 2017, Nevada became the 36th state, soon followed by Illinois in 2018.
“It is time. It is past time we ratify the ERA,” Rep. Russell said.
The bill was filed in March in honor of Women’s History Month.