Do We need an Equal Rights Amendment?

Back in the late 70s, when I was going to Virginia Commonwealth University, the ERA was constantly in the news and being debated. I obviously supported it, especially since at that time there were still many laws that discriminated on the basis of sex.


That’s me wearing my ERA YES button with my old band The Naughty Bits around 1979 or so. Back when I had hair.

It failed to get enough states by the deadline and it died.  However, the Supreme Court and Congress basically passed laws and decisions which outlawed most kinds of discrimination over those years, so the question remains: Do we still need it?

After all, the courts have held that the 14th Amendment protects the rights of “people” — aren’t women people? The Supreme Court recently held that gays are protected under the 14th (at least where marriage is concerned).

Then again, even with many laws prohibiting discrimination, the Supreme Court has upheld different treatment, especially concerning the military.

The ERA is in the news again because there is a movement in the Senate to open it back up again for passage — and then it will only need one more state to ratify it.

Here’s why that should happen: All the decisions in the world don’t matter when a new court full of Republican appointees decides that women aren’t “people” and rolls back previous decisions. All the laws Congress passes can be revoked and changed as well.

So yes, I support adding this amendment, even now. I’d support it even more if it included “sexual orientation” as well.

But that will be the next big fight.