Letter: NC should still adopt the ERA

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The 1940 Republican platform included the first major party endorsement of passing the Equal Rights Amendment. After forsaking its roots in the late ’70s and ’80s on this issue, the Republican Party has come back around to supporting the ERA in state legislatures responsible for voting to ratify this constitutional amendment in the last few years [avl.mx/96b].

Bipartisan efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are now underway to finally ensure that the long-delayed ERA enshrines in the U.S. Constitution “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” (That’s it! That, plus the ability for Congress to enforce it in a timely manner, is the entire amendment!) Virginia became the final state needed to ratify the ERA last year, and Congress is working together to remove an outdated deadline for ratification.

North Carolina is poised to be on the wrong side of history unless our legislature acts quickly. We are one of the handful of states that has not yet ratified the federal ERA. Furthermore, we’re also one of 25 states that hasn’t yet included protections against sex-based discrimination in our state constitution.

Let’s not make the same mistake we made by dragging our feet on the 19th Amendment. We waited 50 years after the nation amended the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote to formally ratify the 19th Amendment in the N.C. General Assembly.

Urge Chairs Destin Hall and Bill Rabon to take up this important issue in their respective rules committees now.

We still have the ability to do the right thing before it’s embarrassingly too late this time. Thank your assembly members who have signed onto House Bill 8 and Senate Bill 15, and urge those who haven’t yet to co-sponsor these bills today.

— Mary Ellen M. Kustin


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