Equal Rights Amendment
The American Constitution Society advocates for the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”) to be recognized as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We provide programming and resources to help foster greater understanding of this century-long fight for gender equality.
The ERA is critical to addressing a founding failure of our Constitution – its silence on gender equality. The Amendment reads “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” and gives Congress power to enforce this proscription against gender discrimination. Thirty-eight states have acknowledged this founding failure and ratified the ERA in accordance with the procedure provided in Article V. It is part of the Constitution and should be treated as such.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution lays out two methods by which the Constitution can be amended. Every amendment to the Constitution has utilized the same method. Two-thirds of each chamber of Congress proposed an amendment to the Constitution and that amendment was subsequently ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. The ERA has satisfied each of these steps.
On March 22, 1972, the 92nd Congress passed House Joint Resolution 208, proposing the ERA and sending it to state legislatures for ratification. By a vote of 354-24 in the House and 84-8 in the Senate, each chamber comfortably surpassed the required two-thirds threshold.
On January 27, 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA. As a result of Virginia’s ratification, the ERA reached the three-fourths of states threshold and thereby satisfied all requirements prescribed in Article V to become the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.
ACS has and will continue to hold national and chapter events about the need to acknowledge the ratification of the ERA and recognize it as the 28th Amendment.
Letters to Congress
Letter from Russ Feingold to Hon. Carolyn Maloney, then-Chair, Committee on Oversight and Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives on the 50th Anniversary of the ERA.
On 50th Anniversary of Congress Passing the ERA, Chairwoman Maloney Presses Archivist to Recognize ERA as 28th Amendment
Corresponding Oversight Committee Press Release regarding Russ Feingold's March 21 letter.
The Equal Rights Amendment: How Congress Can Recognize Ratification and Enshrine Equality in Our Constitution
Statement by Russ Feingold Before the Senate Judiciary Committee
Broken Law Podcast Episode 95: Why The ERA Is More Important Than Ever
MARCH 28, 2023
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first introduced in 1923. 100 years later, with 38 states having ratified it, should it be considered the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Lindsay Langholz speaks with Kathleen Sullivan about the status of the ERA and why the ERA is more important than ever. READ MORE »
Broken Law Podcast Episode 67: Sex, Gender Identity, and the Constitution
SEPTEMBER 13, 2022
On this episode, we discuss sex, gender identity, and the Constitution. That’s because we are talking about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the argument that it is already the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. Lindsay Langholz is joined by Kate Kelly, author of “Ordinary Equality,” to discuss the ERA’s long journey, the women and queer activists who kept the project going for so long, and why their work and their fight are still relevant today. READ MORE »
with Melissa Murray, now-Rep. Jennifer McClellan of Virginia, Reva Siegel, and Julie Suk
with Kamala Lopez, Wilfred Codrington II, Aziz Huq, Michelle Kallen, and Russ Feingold
ACS 2020 Program Guide