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THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
OF ELMHURST, ILLINOIS

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Issues and Action

The League of Women Voters will only take action on issues we have studied and on which we have reached consensus, that is, general member agreement.

EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

Why the ERA should be ratified by Illinois:

  • Without the ERA, the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee that the rights it protects are held equally by all citizens without regard to sex. The first — and still the only — right specifically affirmed as equal for women and men is the right to vote.

  • The equal protection clause of the Constitution's 14th Amendment was first applied to sex discrimination only in 1971, and it has never been interpreted to grant equal rights on the basis of sex in the uniform and inclusive way that the ERA would.

  • The ERA would provide a clearer judicial standard for deciding cases of sex discrimination, since federal and state courts (some working with state ERAs, some without) still reflect confusion and inconsistency in dealing with such claims. It would also clarify sex discrimination jurisprudence and conclusively invalidate the claim of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia that the Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, does not protect against sex discrimination (reported in California Lawyer, January 2011).

  • The ERA would provide a strong legal defense against a rollback of the significant advances in women's rights that have been achieved since the mid–20th century.

  • Without the ERA, women regularly and men occasionally have to fight long, expensive, and difficult legal battles in an effort to prove that their rights are equal to those of the other sex.

  • The ERA would improve the United States' standing in the world community with respect to human rights. The governing documents of many other countries affirm legal gender equality, however imperfect the global implementation of that ideal may be.

  • What about those who are against Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act, the Fair Pensions Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and blocked the U.S. ratification of the U.N.’s Convention of the Elimination of ll Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

  • Why would we have it in our Illinois State Constitution and not in our national constitution?

  • Do you really want your daughter to grow up in a nation where she is less of a citizen than her brothers?

Most of these reasons were taken from equalrightsamendment.org

Timing:

  • Although originally the ERA was to be ratified by 7 years after it was passed in Congress on March 22, 1972.  In July 1978, an extension was granted until June 30, 1982. Only 35 of the required 38 states ratified by that date.
  • On March 22, 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify.
  • It should be noted that the 27th amendment to the Constitution was ratified over 200 years after it was passed by Congress.
  • Many feel that the Supreme Court will not accept the deadline argument and accept the ratification of 38 states when it happens.
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