WASHINGTON – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that they have joined 18 of their Senate colleagues on a bipartisan resolution to remove the deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment. Thirty-seven states, of the 38 needed, have already ratified the amendment, which was first proposed in 1972.
Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed a companion resolution—readying it for a full House vote that could take place as early as December.
“True freedom is the ability to fully participate in every aspect of American life, and our Constitution’s text and protections should reflect our shared belief that freedom should never be rationed by gender,” Merkley said. “Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment is critical to our fight to make sure that, regardless of gender, the bells of freedom ring for each and every American.”
“The Equal Rights Amendment is a long-overdue must to ensure the core American value of fair treatment for all is clear in the Constitution,” Wyden said. “This amendment should have happened long ago, and I am all in with this bipartisan battle to make sure it now happens as soon as possible.”
Congress has voted once before to extend the ERA ratification deadline, which was previously set by a congressional resolution, not the actual text of the amendment. Article V of the Constitution contains no time limits for ratification of amendments, and the states finally ratified the Twenty-Seventh Amendment regarding Congressional pay raises in 1992, more than 200 years after Congress proposed it in 1789 as part of the original Bill of Rights.
Illinois was the last state to ratify the ERA in May 2018, following Nevada’s ratification in March 2017. Only one more state is needed among: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, or Virginia. Virginia’s legislature is expected to take up the measure in January 2020.
The following senators have joined Merkley and Wyden as cosponsors of the Senate resolution: Ben Cardin (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Jack Reed (D-RI).