On Two-Year Anniversary of Virginia’s Historic ERA Ratification, Spanberger Helps Unveil Resolution Recognizing the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment

The Congresswoman Cosponsored Legislation to Repeal the ERA Ratification Deadline

HENRICO, V.A. — U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger today helped lead the introduction of a resolution recognizing that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has met all legal requirements to be recognized as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

This resolution marks the two-year anniversary of Virginia’s ratification of the ERA — the date the ERA is slated to go into effect. As of today, the ERA is intended to guarantee long-sought constitutional protections against discrimination and further empower Congress to enact legislation advancing gender equality.

“As we mark the two-year anniversary of Virginia’s historic ratification of the ERA, we are poised to make the ERA the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We need to eliminate any roadblocks that prevent us from enshrining equal rights for all under the law,” said Spanberger. “This moment is years in the making, and it is the result of tireless work from advocates in Virginia and across the country who never took ‘no’ for an answer, persuaded generations of lawmakers to join their side, and always believed in their ability to get this done. As a Virginian — but also as a mom, sister, and daughter — I am proud to cosponsor this resolution to finally achieve federal ratification and gender equality. We stand firm in our belief that equality of rights shall not be denied or abridged on the account of sex.”

Although Article V of the Constitution contains no time limit for ratifying amendments, when Congress passed the ERA in 1972, it included a non-binding seven-year ratification time limit in the preamble of the joint resolution.  This time limit was later extended for an additional three years, and by 1982, 35 out of the required 38 states had voted to ratify the amendment.  Because the time limit was included in the preamble, not the Amendment ratified by the states, it must be understood to be non-binding.

On January 27, 2020, the ERA met the final legal requirement for ratification under Article V when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. Section 3 of the ERA states that it shall go into effect two years after ratification.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion calling into question but failing to rescind its January 2020 opinion seeking to block the ERA.

The resolution — which is cosponsored by 133 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives — is led by U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) and Jackie Speier (D-CA-14).

Click here to read the resolution.

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