ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico is raising awareness for a renewed push of the Equal Rights Amendment. It comes just weeks before the 100th anniversary of New Mexico’s ratification of the 19th amendment, or women’s right to vote, which will be celebrated on February 21st, 2020.
On January 15th, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment after both its House and the Senate voted to approve the change to the U.S. Constitution.
The ERA’s provisions include a guarantee that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
In the United States, amendments only become law when they’re ratified by at least three-fourths of state legislatures, or 38 out of 50. However, the ERA’s deadline for ratification expired in the 1980s, putting its future on uncertain legal ground.
New Mexico ratified the amendment on February 28, 1973, but when the 1982 deadline rolled around, only 35 states had ratified. Since then, five states – Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, and South Dakota – have attempted to withdraw their approval of the Equal Rights Amendment, due to ERA opposition.
Those for the Equal Rights Amendment say it will give all American citizens, regardless of their sex, equal rights in the workplace and across American society as a whole. Those who oppose the amendment worry it will abolish necessary protections for women in America.
According to a 2016 poll commissioned by the national ERA Coalition, 94% of Americans support an amendment to the Constitution to guarantee equal rights for men and women, regardless of the controversy over the actual legislation.
However, a statement from the Department of Justice issued after Virginia’s ratification of the ERA, says despite the 38th ratification, “Congress may not revive a proposed amendment after a deadline for its ratification has expired. Should Congress wish to propose the amendment anew, it may do so through the same procedures required to propose an amendment in the first instance.”
The League of Women Voters says they are aware of the new challenges brought to light surrounding the Equal Rights Amendment but will continue to fight for equal rights for women.
You can learn more about their efforts by attending a showing of and ERA focused documentary “Equal Means Equal” at the Guild Cinema off Central Ave. and Tulane on January 26th at 1:00 P.M. Tickets are $10.