ERA in American History: Understanding the Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that seeks to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of their gender. The history of the ERA dates back to the early twentieth century when women’s suffrage was gaining momentum. Despite numerous attempts to pass the amendment, it has never been ratified and remains a controversial issue.
The History of ERA
The idea of an Equal Rights Amendment first emerged in 1923, when Alice Paul, a leading figure in the women’s suffrage movement, introduced it in Congress. The proposed amendment stated 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.”
Despite receiving support from several prominent figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and President John F. Kennedy, the ERA failed to gain enough traction in Congress and was eventually defeated. It wasn’t until 1972 that the amendment was finally passed by both houses of Congress and sent to state legislatures for ratification.
The Controversy Surrounding ERA
Despite being approved by Congress, the ERA faced fierce opposition from various groups, including conservative organizations and anti-feminist activists. One of their main arguments against the amendment was that it would undermine traditional gender roles and lead to unintended consequences like unisex bathrooms and military drafts for women.
Another argument against ERA was that it would lead to an increase in abortions as women would have unrestricted access to them. However, supporters argued that these concerns were unfounded and based on misunderstandings about what the ERA actually sought to achieve.
The Future of ERA
Despite being ratified by 38 states (the required number for an amendment to be added to the Constitution), there is still no official deadline for its ratification. Some states have even rescinded their ratification, creating confusion and uncertainty about the future of the ERA.
Recently, there has been renewed interest in the ERA, with several states passing resolutions to ratify it. However, legal experts are divided on whether the amendment can still be added to the Constitution after so many years have passed since its initial proposal.
In conclusion, the Equal Rights Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that seeks to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of their gender. Despite facing numerous challenges and opposition over the years, it remains an important issue for advocates of gender equality. Only time will tell if the ERA will ever become a part of the Constitution and bring about true gender equality in America.