One state from ratification, Senator Murkowski renews ERA push in Congress

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment remains in limbo. The Constitutional amendment was sent to the states in 1972 that has yet to be ratified. Supporters of the amendment say they want to get rid of years of inequality.

“My generation have spent a good deal of our lives being treated as second class citizens,” said Toni Van Pelt, president of the Naitonal Organization for Women.

37 of the 38 states necessary have voted to ratify the ERA.

“It’s held us down where we felt like we just weren’t worth it. We weren’t treated equally,” said Van Pelt.

She says the amendment will put sexual discrimination on a level with race and religion when it comes to legal protection. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) says the time for this amendment is long overdue. One hurdle she wants to overcome is the ratification deadline that was set for 1979. Murkowski is pushing a resolution on Capitol Hill that would retroactively remove that deadline, making it possible for the amendment to pass.

“Put it on the same footing that most other Constitutional amendments are in which was there is no time limit,” said Murkowski.

Some states have voted for ratification after the deadline. An expert says a time limit is not why 13 states are holding out.

“People talk about potential consequences not known consequences,” said Michele Swers, a professor at Georgetown University.

Swers says future interpretation of the amendment is murky. She says there are theories the amendment could lead to more unisex bathrooms, women being drafted into the military, and public funding for abortion. In addition, Swers says some don’t see the need for the amendment.

“Others just think that, well we already have equal rights and so it’s just not necessary,” said Swers.

If ratified, the Equal Rights Amendment would be the 28th amendment, the first since 1992.