Congresswoman Bush, Senator Gillibrand Introduce Resolution Recognizing Equal Rights Amendment as 28th Amendment
WATCH: Bush, Gillibrand Lead Colleagues, Advocates in Press Conference for ERA NowResolution
Washington D.C. (July 13, 2023) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), alongside ERA Caucus co-chair Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Vice Chairs Representatives Becca Balint (VT), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Summer Lee (PA-12), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) and caucus Members Jonathan L. Jackson (IL-01) and James P. McGovern (MA-02), introduced a resolution urging the Archivist of the United States, Colleen Shogan, to certify the state ratifications, and publish the Equal Rights Amendment in the federal register, cementing it as a formal part of the U.S. Constitution. The ERA has met the requirements needed to amend the Constitution, which include passage by more than two-thirds of Congress in 1972 and ratification by three-quarters of the states. In 2020, Virginia became the 38th and final state needed to fulfill the ratification requirement; however, the ERA is currently waiting on the Archivist to perform her ministerial duty to finalize the amendment.
“In exactly one week from now, the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment will be 100 years old. The ERA is the path that brings our entire country toward true gender equity, and all that is standing in the way of this necessary change is paperwork,” said Congresswoman Bush. “I am proud to be joined by several of my ERA Caucus colleagues in introducing this important resolution. We are urging the Archivist to fulfill her ministerial duty by certifying and publishing the ERA as the 28th amendment. This simple, 24-word amendment is packed with the potential to protect access to abortion care nationwide, defeat bans on gender-affirming healthcare, shore up marriage equality, eliminate the gender wage gap, help end the epidemic of violence against women and girls, and so much more. With the flick of a pen, we can cement constitutional gender equality as the law of the land, and today we are coming together to say we refuse to wait a moment longer to guarantee this fundamental right.
“As women’s rights are under systematic attack around the country, we need the Equal Rights Amendment now more than ever,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Today, more than half of all Americans do not have equal protection under the law and do not have access to the full range of reproductive care. The ERA Now resolution will make sure our hard-won civil liberties – gay marriage, the right to reproductive health care, access to birth control, fertility treatments, contraception – cannot be eroded. I’m proud to be building on the legacy of thousands of women who have fought for equal protection under the law and, 100 years after it was first introduced, introducing legislation to finally codify the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.”
This resolution would firmly settle remaining constitutional questions regarding the ERA’s ratification and would instruct the Archivist of the U.S. to proceed with publishing and certifying it. This resolution is a dual strategy working in concert with Congresswoman Pressley’s deadline-elimination bill, H.J. Res. 25, which passed the House in the 117th Congress but failed to withstand the filibuster in the Senate earlier this year.
“Constitutional equality is long overdue, and we must use every tool at our disposal to get the Equal Rights Amendment over the finish line and affirm it as the 28th Amendment,” said ERA Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Ayanna Pressley. “I’m grateful to Congresswoman Bush, my sister-in-service and Co-Chair of the ERA Caucus, for her leadership and partnership.”
“Women have been fighting for 100 years to guarantee constitutional gender equality. We are in this fight to finally cement equality for women and LGBTQI+ Americans,” said Rep. Balint. “Attacks on women and our bodies are only increasing, making the need for explicit equality as urgent as ever. We can’t wait a moment longer to ratify the ERA. I’m proud to join Rep. Bush as a Vice Chair of the ERA Caucus to finally enshrine our rights in the constitution.”
“Enacting the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to our Constitution is critical to challenging sexism in all forms, including pay and pregnancy discrimination, sexual and interpersonal violence, workplace harassment, and employment discrimination. At a time of escalating attacks against LGBTQIA+ people, especially transgender and gender-expansive young people, this amendment would also codify federal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The ERA confirms the rightful place of gender equality in all aspects of life, especially for women of color. With 38 states having ratified the Amendment, now is the time to act by put the ERA into law,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
“To the Right-wing politicians and judges waging a full-on assault on the rights of women and birthing folks, we’re not afraid and we won’t be silenced. We’re organized and mobilized to make equal rights and abortion rights for all the law of the land,” said Congresswoman Summer Lee.
“As a young college student, I visited the Texas State Legislature to fight for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Here we are, years later, and we are still fighting for our rights,” said Congresswoman Garcia. “Today, I join my colleagues to reaffirm that support. Women are behind some of the nation’s most outstanding achievements. We have forged our paths in history – yet we’re still not equal to men under the eyes of the law. We must eliminate the arbitrary deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, so we can finally prohibit discrimination under the Constitution. I will continue to fight for every little girl in this country who will one day live in an America that will embrace her full humanity and guarantee full equality.”
“It has been 100 years since the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced, and the fight for gender equality under the law persists today,” said Congresswoman McClellan. “In 2020, I led the charge to make Virginia the 38th and final state to ratify the ERA. Today, as a Vice Chair of the Congressional ERA Caucus, I am proud to co-lead this resolution to affirm the ERA as the 28th Amendment. Our daughters and granddaughters deserve this — equality must be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.”
“For more than two centuries, women in this country have fought grueling political battles just to win the rights that men take for granted,” said Rep. Frankel. “It’s past time that equal rights for women are enshrined in the Constitution."
“This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Equal Rights Amendment. While we've journeyed to the moon and commanded drones in our skies in this time, we've yet to fully embrace gender equality under our Constitution. As co-lead of this resolution, I stand firm in the belief that the Equal Rights Amendment should be recognized as the Twenty-Eighth Amendment. Let's turn this centennial into a landmark moment, ensuring our leaps in technology match strides in human rights. It's time to solidify gender equality not just as a promise, but as a constitutional right,” said Congressman Jackson.
“Over 100 years after its first introduction, America still has the important responsibility to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution,” said Congressman McGovern. “As the father of an incredible daughter, I’m proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues to demand once again that the people who make up this country are reflected in our founding documents. Women, girls, LGBTQ+ people, and marginalized groups across the country have for too long been told to sit on the sidelines and wait for change, and they deserve a government that fights for their human rights today—without delay. That starts with Congress taking decisive action and passing the ERA.”
Additional co-sponsors of this resolution include Representatives Abigail D. Spanberger (VA-07), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Shontel Brown (OH-11), Danny Davis (IL-07), Dina Titus (NV-01), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Emanuel Cleaver II (MO-05), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Jasmine Crocket (TX-30), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Judy Chu (CA-28), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Katie Porter (CA-47), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10), Nanette Barragan (CA-44), Nikema Williams (GA-05), Nikki Budzinski (IL-13), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Raul Grijalva (AZ-07), Glenn Ivey (MD-04), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Summer Lee (PA-12), Susie Lee (NV-03), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Ted W. Lieu (CA-36), Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09)
The ERA is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines gender equality as a constitutional right. Its main clause states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” This amendment is crucial to eliminating discrimination on the basis of sex across our country – and its finalization in the U.S. Constitution will usher in new and necessary protections for all people across our country.
This resolution has the proud endorsement of over 300 organizations nationwide, including Advocates for Youth, AFL-CIO, Asian American Women’s Political Initiative, Catholics for Choice, End Rape on Campus, ERA Coalition, Feminist Front, Gen-Z for Change, Generation Ratify, GLSEN, In Our Own Voice: Black Women's Reproductive NARAL Pro-Choice America, Justice Agenda, Justice Revival, March for Our Lives, Muslims for Progressive Values, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Council of Jewish Women, National ERA Publication Task Force, National Organization for Women, PROMO Missouri, SIECUS, Sierra Club, Sojourners, Sunrise Movement, Shattering Glass, Supermajority, the TransLatin@ Coalition, Voters of Tomorrow, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, and We Testify. A list of all endorsements and their quotes can be found HERE.
“Women – who make up half the U.S. population – deserve to have equal protection under our nation’s Constitution,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “At a time when women continue to face discrimination on the job, a persistent wage gap, higher rates of poverty and increased barriers to healthcare, passing the ERA should be mission critical for every lawmaker in Congress. We applaud Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Cori Bush for introducing this resolution and for their commitment to ensuring that our nation’s founding document finally reflects our democracy and our values,” said Elizabeth Shuler, President of the AFL-CIO.
“Young people understand the need to finalize the ERA to protect abortion access, defend LGBTQ+ youth, and advance racial justice. Our bodies, futures, and lives are on the line. We are grateful for Congresswoman Bush and Senator Gillibrand’s resolution to put young women and queer people in the Constitution. We won’t, and can’t, let arbitrary rules and deadlines keep us out of the Constitution. Keep Black and brown youth out of the Constitution. Keep queer and transgender youth out of the Constitution. We are proud to stand alongside congressional leaders to demand ERA Now,” said Shalina Effendi, Director of Policy at Generation Ratify.
“2023 marks 100 years since the ERA was first introduced in Congress and it's well past time to finally have it added to the U.S. Constitution. We're grateful for the passion and dedication of Congresswoman Bush; part of a cohort of Black women leading the way on equality for all," said Zakiya Thomas, President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women's Equality. "We applaud Congresswoman Bush for joining Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Cardin in introducing legislation calling on Congress to affirm the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment, and additionally bringing attention to the push for the U.S. Archivist to do her duty and publish the ERA”
“We are thrilled that Representative Bush and Senator Gillibrand are pulling out all the stops to move the Equal Rights Amendment forward. With the 38 necessary states having ratified the ERA we believe that the Amendment is valid. What should happen now is for Congress to affirm the ERA and for the Archivist of the United States to publish the ERA as the 28th Amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment is needed now more than ever!,” said Christian F. Nunes, President of the National Organization for Women.
“As LGBTQI+ people face unimaginable attacks and hate, our leaders must take meaningful action. The Equal Rights Act cements protections for LGBTQI+ people, women, and girls from discrimination at school and beyond. GLSEN applauds U.S. Representative Cori Bush for fighting for the ERA and rising up to protect our most vulnerable from discrimination,” said Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, Executive Director of GLSEN.
“From abortion rights to LGBTQ+ rights, our fundamental freedoms are facing unprecedented attacks from extremists and the politicians who do their bidding. It’s past time to take action. The ERA is a critical step towards ensuring equality and protecting our fundamental rights, including the right to abortion and contraception, and we’re thankful to Rep. Bush for her steadfast work in pushing to make it a reality,” said Mini Timmaraju, President of NARAL.
“We are fighting for a world where everyone has access to clean air and water, and a good life, no matter the color of their skin, the money in their pockets, or their gender identity. Equal rights are essential to a Green New Deal and we stand with Representative Bush as she fights for the Equal Rights Amendment," said Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement.
"The introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment was an important step in women’s rights when it was first written a century ago, when it passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support 50 years ago, and it remains a critical tool to address the urgent issues of today," said Jara Butler, Supermajority's Chief Impact Officer. "Women have made substantial progress over the past 100 years, but currently our rights are being rolled back at an alarming rate: This week marks one year since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, states across the country are introducing a flurry of disturbing anti-trans legislation, and people across the country continue to face barriers such as pay and pregnancy discrimination that prevent them from living lives that are truly equal. As we work together to ensure women’s freedoms are protected in the Constitution, Supermajority applauds Congresswoman Cori Bush for bringing the ERA one step closer to passage."
In March, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Congresswoman Pressley, launched the first-ever Congressional Caucus for the Equal Rights Amendment. This caucus was launched exactly 100 years after the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first introduced in Congress in 1923 to commemorate the centennial of the struggle for constitutional gender equality. The caucus aims to affirm the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th amendment to the Constitution; raise awareness in Congress to establish constitutional gender equality as a national priority; partner with an inclusive multi-generational, multi-racial coalition of advocates, activists, scholars, organizers, and public figures; and center the people who stand to benefit the most from gender equality, including Black and brown women, LGBTQ+ people, people seeking abortion care, and other marginalized groups.
Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Ranking Member of Oversight Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.