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Public Statements

Rep. Andrews Introduces Bill to Further the Protection of Women's Right

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Rep. Andrews Introduces Bill to Further the Protection of Women's Rights

Last month, I introduced a bill that will require the House of Representatives to take any legislative action necessary to verify the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the Constitution when the legislatures of an additional three States ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Currently, there are 4 other Representatives that have joined me in cosponsoring this historic bill. Through this, protection of women's rights will take one more step forward.

The lack of a constitutional amendment to protect women's rights, contributes to the discrimination against women that still occurs today. In 1972 Congress introduced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which 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."

Thirty-five of the required 38 states have ratified the amendment, so that only three more state ratifications are necessary to reach the required 38 (three-fourths of the 50 states) to complete the ratification process. This "three-state strategy" is based on the premise that the votes taken in the initial 35 states to ratify this document are still valid. The Constitution does not set a specific time limit on the ratification process and the Twenty-seventh amendment has set forth the precedent for this.

A Supreme Court ruling (Coleman v. Miller, 1939) decided that Congress may determine whether an amendment is "no longer responsive to the conception which inspired it." Clearly this amendment still applies today, as laws that attempt to end gender discrimination are not consistently upheld. Courts have difficulty interpreting anti-discrimination laws in these cases because gender is not held to be comparable to race or ethnicity in requiring strict judicial scrutiny.

My resolution will require the House of Representatives to take any legislative action necessary to verify the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the Constitution when three additional States ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. I first introduced this resolution in Congress in 1994, and continue to believe strongly that the simple justice of "equality of rights under the law…on the basis of sex" is long overdue.


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