Mr. Speaker, House Joint Resolution 264, before us today, which provides for equality under the law for both men and women, represents one of the most clear-cut opportunities we are likely to have to declare our faith in the principles that shaped our Constitution. It provides a legal basis for attack on the most subtle, most pervasive, and most institutionalized form of prejudice that exists. Discrimination against women, solely on the basis of their sex, is so widespread that is seems to many persons normal, natural and right. - Shirley Chisholm, Aug. 10 1970
Good news on an otherwise boring day: Sen. Barbara Boxer has reknewed the drive to get the embattled Equal Rights Amendment passed. Originally written in the 20's by Alice Paul, the last time it was seriously considered was the 70's, when it missed the mark for ratification to the tune of 3 states. These days it seems to have a fighting chance, but you can bet the conservatives (including, shudder, Phyllis Schafly) will come out in droves to prevent it. (They think it will be a basis for gay marriage and unisex bathrooms, both of which I am ALL for, btw.) The actual text of the amendment is as follows:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
Would an amendment like this actually have a tangible impact on women's lives? Who knows. But think about the difference it could make to future generations of women, reading the constitution for the first time to discover that their rights were enshrined there too.