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House Passes Resolution Aimed at Advancing Equal Rights Amendment

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The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted Wednesday to remove a decade-long deadline for adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment, in hopes of formally protecting women’s rights in the U.S. Constitution.

Congress approved the ERA in the early 1970s and set a deadline in 1982 for it to be enacted if 38 state legislatures voted to approve.

The call for the amendment initially garnered widespread support but fell after a conservative backlash led by activist Phyllis Schlafly, who said the ERA would actually undermine women’s standing and lead to homosexual marriages, women in combat, the government funded abortions and alimony.

Virginia last year became the 38th state to vote in favor and along with Illinois and Nevada went to federal court in Washington to ask for the amendment to be declared effective.

The proposal faces an uphill battle in the Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats needing a supermajority of 60 votes for passage. The issue is also in federal courts and can be brought to the Supreme Court.

The House voted 222-204, largely along party lines, to remove the deadline for states to adopt the amendment.

The adjustment section states in part: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be shortened by the United States or by any state because of sex.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that more amendments are needed. “This is the everyday reality for American women who face inequality and injustice for many arenas of life, from a wide wage gap, to pregnancy discrimination, to to sexual harassment in the workplace, to economic variations that worsened during the coronavirus, ”he said during the debate.

Liberal activists say American women still suffer discrimination 100 years after winning the right to vote, citing studies showing that men are paid less for the same work.

But Republican representative Michelle Fischbach said men and women are equal under the Constitution.

“To me, the ERA is unnecessary, redundant and isolation,” Fischbach said. He said that if it became law, the amendment could also be used by pro-abortion groups to strengthen abortion rights through the courts.

“I want to tell you that we have more Republican support for it at this time,” Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of the few Republicans in that room to support the amendment, told reporters Tuesday. . “We keep doing that.”

The House also approved Wednesday by a vote of 244-172 the Violence against Women Act, a law that strengthens protections against domestic violence. Originally sponsored in 1994 by former Senator, now-President Joe Biden, but expired in 2019, and Biden is campaigning for its renewal.

“I’m grateful the House voted to strengthen and change the law – and I urge the Senate to do the same,” Biden said on Twitter.

Republicans, along with some who have supported the law in the past, have complained Democrats seek to expand the movement by allowing shelters to take in transgender women. Many Republicans also liked a provision that prevents dating partners and stalkers convicted of domestic violence from buying guns.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Scott Malone, Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney)

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