Column By Diane Post
WASHINGTON D.C. – The ERA Task Force Arizona is hosting a celebration on Jan 27, 2022, when the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) becomes the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The state of Virginia ratified the amendment on Jan. 27, 2020, making it the 38th state as required by the Constitution Article V.
Our new 28th Amendment provides, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Congress has the power to enforce the amendment by appropriate legislation. The amendment allowed a two-year window from the date of ratification for the national and state governments to remove discriminatory laws, after which the Amendment takes effect. The effective date is Jan. 27, 2022.
The 28th amendment overrides the current, often ineffective, patchwork of state and federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination. The amendment will also serve as a basis to address areas in which sex discrimination is rampant including female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, and marriage of child brides. It will require strict scrutiny by the courts and make “sex” a protected category like color, race, national origin, and religion. The amendment is important for everyone – women, men, girls, and boys – because each of us is entitled to equal rights under the law.
ERA Task Force Arizona completed an exhaustive review of all Arizona laws to comply with the 28th Amendment in 2021 but unfortunately, the state legislature has taken no action. Arizona is one of the 12 remaining unratified states. Representative Powers Hannley introduced HCM2005 to eliminate the unconstitutional deadline and HCR2021 for Arizona to ratify the ERA. A ratification bill is being introduced into the State Senate by Senator Steele on Jan. 27. The state needs to join the rest of the United States in declaring that it believes in equality for women and girls.