Washington, D.C. – The United States Conference of Mayors, along with organizations in South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana devoted to their states’ ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, today filed an amicus brief in support of Virginia, Illinois and Nevada in their lawsuit demanding the federal government add the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Represented by Gainesville, Fla.-based Southern Legal Counsel and the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C., the organizations, which include Equal Means ERA, 38 Agree for Georgia and LARatifyERA, address in their brief the policy implications and outcomes of ratifying or refusing to ratify the ERA.
In January, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. However, the United States is challenging the ERA’s validity on the basis that Congress had originally set a ratification deadline of March 22, 1979, for the state legislatures to consider the ERA, and five states rescinded their ratifications in the 1970s.
Virginia, Illinois and Nevada, the three most recent states to ratify the ERA, are all suing the Archivist of the United States, who is responsible for keeping track of constitutional amendments, and has moved to dismiss the states’ lawsuit seeking the ratification of the ERA.
“On the 100th anniversary of the full ratification of the 19th Amendment, it is way past time to fully ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The first states that the right of U.S. citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex; the Equal Rights Amendment states that equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex. The Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified by 38 states and must become part of the U.S. Constitution. To stop this from occurring is un-American and unfair to all people of this great nation,” said Pauline Cutter, Mayor of San Leandro (CA) and Chair of the Women’s Leadership Alliance of the United States Conference of Mayors.
“Last year the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted policy reaffirming its support of the Equal Rights Amendment and pledging to play an active role in ensuring its full ratification. The amicus brief that we are filing with the Court today carries out that policy. The ERA will ensure the full equality of people of any sex under the laws of the United States of America. It has been ratified by 38 states and should become part of the U.S. Constitution,” said Bryan K. Barnett, Mayor of Rochester Hills (MI) and President of the United States Conference of Mayors.
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors first adopted policy in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1977 and has advocated for its full ratification ever since. For more than five decades, the Conference has been committed to achieving equality for all people. That is why we are filing this amicus brief and why we will do everything in our power to see the Equal Rights Amendment fully ratified this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. We can wait no longer,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the United States Conference of Mayors.