Equal Rights Amendment

Flickr User Tabor Roeder / (CC x 2.0)

Legislators of both parties are calling on Governor Bruce Rauner to voice support for the Equal Rights Amendment. While a ratification proposal passed the state Senate, it has yet to be called for a vote in the House, where it appears there may not yet be enough votes to gain the supermajority needed. But what's really at stake?

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

A decades-long battle for state ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment is still pushing on. On Tuesday, supporters traveled from different areas of the state to urge lawmakers to act.

The congressional deadline to pass the ERA was 1982. The amendment would add language to the U.S. Constitution saying rights should not be denied on account of sex.

Susan Stephens/WNIJ

Hundreds of supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment from all over Illinois will descend on Springfield Tuesday. They’re hoping to convince state representatives to approve the 1970s-era U.S. constitutional amendment to protect women’s rights.

A coalition of women’s groups has chartered buses to get supporters to ERA Rally Day at the state capitol.

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

The Equal Rights Amendment, commonly referred to as the ERA, aims to end the legal distinction between men and women, something supporters say would enhance equality when it comes to issues like equal pay. Congress approved it in 1972, and then it went to the states for ratification. 38 states had to approve it by 1982, a deadline set by Congress. It fell short by three.

Susan Stephens/WNIJ

It was 1972.

The Vietnam War dragged on. A break-in at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., was the beginning of the end for President Richard Nixon. The Godfather and The Price Is Right debuted, as well as the video game Pong.

1972 was the last time a man walked on the moon. And Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, sending it to the states for ratification.

C/O EAGLE FORUM & JENNIFER LEE

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of  sex. 
—   The proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

This story will begin with an ending. In an Illinois Issues edition that came out in 1982, author Diane Ross wrote something about the last day of the Illinois General Assembly spring session that sounds eerily relatable to the present: