In January 2020, Virginia Became the 38th and Final State Needed to Ratify the ERA
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger yesterday joined lawmakers in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate in introducing legislation to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution.
In January 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment — meaning the ERA met the final legal requirement for ratification under Article V. This legislation would remove the time limit preventing the ERA from officially becoming the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“There must be no deadline on equality,” said Spanberger. “Advocates in Virginia and across our country have led a decades-long push to guarantee constitutional protections against sex discrimination through the Equal Rights Amendment. Generations of mothers, daughters, sisters, and granddaughters have pushed the boundaries of progress for women in the Unites States to get us to where we are now — only to have their lasting achievement blocked by an arbitrary deadline. But Congress has the power to remove that very deadline, and we are long overdue for action.”
Spanberger continued, “Equal rights must never be denied under law on account of sex, and I’m proud to once again help lead this effort to help enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to our Constitution.”
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.
The resolution is cosponsored by 137 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 46 U.S. Senators. Spanberger was an original cosponsor of a similar joint resolution last Congress — which the Congresswoman voted with a majority of the U.S. House to pass in March 2021.
Click here to read the resolution.