Senate GOP Votes to Block Equal Rights Amendment

April 28, 2023

A measure that would have allowed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to be added to the Constitution failed Thursday to exceed a Senate filibuster vote.

Senators voted 51-48 to invoke cloture on the motion, with only Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voting alongside every Democrat in support of the bill. A majority of 60 votes was necessary to exceed the Senate filibuster for its passage. 

The ERA is a Constitutional amendment stating that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” It was first proposed in 1923—three years after women earned the right to vote under the 19th Amendment.

It was approved by the U.S. Senate 49 years later, in 1972. However, after it was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification it failed to achieve the requisite 38 states necessary until 2020, 38 years past the mandated deadline.

Following its ratification by Virginia, the 38th state, supporters of the ERA argued that if Congress were to adopt legislation rescinding the 1982 deadline, the ERA would become the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. 

While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) unsuccessfully urged his colleagues to vote for the amendment on Thursday, Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MI) and John Kennedy (R-LA) have introduced a competing resolution to recognize the deadline for ratifying the ERA as having expired. The bill has 17 cosponsors, all Republicans. 

In a statement, U.S. League of Women Voters CEO Virgina Kase Solomón said, “It is shameful that despite the significant advances made in recent history, Americans continue to face discrimination on the basis of sex and lack equal rights in the Constitution. Inequality hurts everyone, and we must not continue to be a nation that harmfully excludes and marginalizes women.”

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