Sen. Lisa Murkowski is hoping to help Democrats jump start a decades-long effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the U.S. Constitution. Seen by those on both the right and left as a way to enshrine abortion and gender identity into the bedrock of American law, the ERA has been a priority issue for Murkowski for years.
In 2020 and 2021 she introduced resolutions in the U.S. Senate to approve the ERA Amendment. While the measure failed to gain the needed support, Murkowski is, once again, joining with Democrats to give it another go.
On Jan. 31, she joined a press conference with all Democratic colleagues who are all pushing for the ERA to become part of the U.S. Constitution.
Introduced in 1972, the ERA required 38 states to ratify it before 1979. Only 35 states agreed before the deadline passed. That, however, has not stopped liberal activists from pushing the agenda.
In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, although seven states have since rescinded their ratification and so it remains a legal question as to whether the three-fourths threshold of all states has actually been achieved. While three states ratified the ERA after the 1979 deadline, supporters of the measure say that should not matter.
But even if the Senate passes the resolution to ratify the ERA, the U.S. Supreme Court would likely need to determine whether the seven states that have since rescinded their approval of the ERA are still on the hook.
On the surface, the amendment seems redundant, but both supporters and opponents admit it has the potential to fundamentally change abortion law, while expanding LGBTQ rights and eroding religious liberties. It states simply: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Many political liberals and conservatives agree, that in addition to enshrining abortion in the U.S. Constitution the Equal Rights Amendment could easily be interpreted by federal courts to expand the military draft to women, ban sex-segregated prisons, and eliminate female only restrooms. In short, it would open Pandora’s box to a massive roll back of pro-life laws, and the rapid advance of special LGBTQ rights which often run afoul of religious liberties and free speech.
Murkowski attended the Jan. 31 press conference, where she claimed the ERA was really just about preventing discrimination against women.
“Men and women should be treated equally under the law,” she added. “It’s as simple as that.”
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, however, pulled no punches about how the ERA could advance the LGBTQ political agenda.
“This long-fought battle has a special connection to my home state of Hawaii — Hawaii was the first state to ratify the ERA,” Sen. Hirono said. “Our next generation of all women, including transgender women and gender non-conforming individuals, deserve better. We cannot wait any longer to formalize the ERA.”
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said he’s planning to push the ERA resolution in the coming weeks.
“We’re gonna start in the Senate Judiciary Committee with a hearing so the people of America know what’s at stake here and what we’re really fighting for,” Durbin said. “And then we’re gonna bring it to the floor and we’re gonna get a vote.”
Whether the bill stands a chance in the Republican-controlled House, is another matter.