Suffragists first introduced what became the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to Congress in 1923. The amendment would guarantee equal legal rights for all citizens, regardless of sex.
Almost half a century later, Congress passed the proposed amendment and gave states until 1979 to ratify it. Three-fourths of the states have to pass an amendment before it can be added to the U.S. Constitution. Congress later extended that deadline to 1982. But only 35 states approved the ERA by that new deadline — three short of the required threshold.
But renewed interest in the ERA has given advocates hope. In 2017 Nevada ratified the amendment, and in 2018 Illinois followed suit. Could North Carolina become the 38th state to ratify pushing the amendment toward Constitutional enshrinement?
Host Frank Stasio talks to Senator Terry Van Duyn, who co-sponsored legislation for North Carolina to ratify the ERA. She is a Democratic lawmaker who represents District 49, which includes Buncombe County and other parts of Western North Carolina.
Joanna Wade, co-president of the ERA-NC Alliance, joins the conversation to talk about why North Carolina should ratify the amendment. And Andrew Schlafly shares why his organization opposes the Equal Rights Amendment. He is the constitutional attorney for Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, and the son of conservative activist and ERA opponent Phyllis Schlafly.
Stasio also talks to Angela Robbins about the history of the ERA, nationally and in North Carolina. Robbins is an associate professor of history at Meredith College.
As published on WUNC.Org. Click here for original.