I, an American woman, am still not considered equal under the law to any male citizen.
Eighty-five years ago, in 1920, when my grandmother was four years old, women in the United States received the right to vote, seventy-two years after that basic right had been declared by Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the first convention on woman’s rights.
In 1923, and every year since, an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution has been fought for – and against – in Congress, but remains three states short of ratification. The states in which it has not been approved are:
I don’t know how people in those states can even look themselves in the mirror. How can you say your mother, your sister, your daughter, is not the equal under the law of any man in the state? Because, really, that’s what you’re saying and that’s all you’re saying.
The complete text of the Equal Rights Amendment is
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
That’s it. The ERA does not invalidate state abortion laws. The ERA does not provide the right to same-sex marriages. The ERA does not make single-sex institutions illegal. It says that what’s between your legs shouldn’t entitle you to more or less protection under the law.
Yes, I have freedom and some legal precedent and no manifest threat against my liberty, but that is not enough. I want my basic equality declared by the country of my birth and the home of democracy.
Frederick Douglass said at that convention for the rights of woman in 1848, "All that distinguishes man as an intelligent and accountable being is equally true of woman. … Our doctrine is that right is of no sex."