The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

(FWI Policy Brief) In 1972, Congress proposed a change to the United States Constitution called the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA would add to the Constitution a provision reading: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” At the time, confident the states would ratify the proposal, Congress set a deadline of 1979 for ratification. When the proposal met with fierce opposition from citizens concerned with the unintended consequences of its broad language and ratification stalled, they moved the goalposts and changed the deadline to 1982. The requisite number of states (38) failed to ratify it during that time period.