Equal Rights Amendment Law and Legal Definition
The Equal Rights Amendment affirms that both women and men hold equally all of the rights guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. The most important effect of the ERA would be to clarify the status of sex discrimination for the courts, whose decisions still show confusion about how to deal with such claims. For the first time, “sex” would be a suspect classification like race. It would require the same high level of “strict scrutiny” and have to meet the same high level of justification – a “necessary” relation to a “compelling” state interest – as the classification of race.
The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed in 1923, but has never been made part of the U.S. Constitution. The ERA has been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. When three more states vote yes, the ERA might become the 28th Amendment. The ERA was first introduced into Congress in 1923. Congress finally passed it and submitted it to the states for ratification on March 22, 1972. An original deadline of seven years was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982.When this deadline expired, only 35 states (of the necessary three-fourths, or 38) had ratified. It has been reintroduced into every session of Congress since that time.