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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Women in U.S. Congress resurrect ERA

Re-reporting, editing, by Carolyn Bennett

Abolitionist Lucretia Coffin Mott in 1848 took up the cause of women’s rights.

With Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott called a first of its kind convention at Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss social, civil, and religious rights of women. The declaration there was modeled on the Declaration of Independence. The women issued the Declaration of Sentiments stating in part that “all men and women are created equal.”

A hundred and sixty-three years have passed, 88 years since the ERA was first introduced to Congress, and again we hear what appear to be strong voices pushing for women's equal rights in law. 


Introduced March 8, 2011in U.S. House of Representatives 112th Congress1st Session H. J. RES. 47— “Removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment”


March 8, 2011: Ms. BALDWIN (for herself, Mr. ANDREWS, Ms. SPEIER, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr.ELLISON, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Ms. PINGREE of Maine, and Ms.
WILSON of Florida)

JOINT RESOLUTION: Removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That notwithstanding any time limit contained in House Joint Resolution 208 of the Ninety-second Congress, second session, the article of amendment proposed to the States in that joint resolution shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution whenever ratified 8 by three additional States.


Eliminates the time limit for ratification of the equal rights amendment (prohibits discrimination on account of sex) proposed to the states in House Joint Resolution 208 of the 92nd Congress, second session.

Declares that such amendment shall be part of the Constitution whenever ratified by the necessary number of additional states

Latest Major Action: 3/21/2011 Referred to House subcommittee.
Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution

Sponsor: Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] (introduced 3/8/2011)
Cosponsors (24) ALPHABETICAL
Rep Andrews, Robert E. [NJ-1] - 3/8/2011; Rep Connolly, Gerald E. "Gerry" [VA-11] - 4/13/2011; Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [FL-19] - 3/9/2011 ; Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] - 3/29/2011; Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 3/8/2011; Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 3/8/2011; Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] - 3/10/2011; Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 6/22/2011; Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] - 5/24/2011; Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 4/5/2011; Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 6/15/2011; Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 6/22/2011; Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 6/14/2011; Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] - 3/29/2011; Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] - 3/15/2011; Rep Perlmutter, Ed [CO-7] - 5/24/2011; Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] - 6/14/2011; Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] - 3/8/2011; Rep Speier, Jackie [CA-12] - 3/8/2011; Rep Tsongas, Niki [MA-5] - 3/29/2011; Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] - 3/9/2011; Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] - 3/8/2011; Rep Wilson, Frederica [FL-17] - 3/8/2011; Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 4/7/2011

Who is Representative Tammy Baldwin?

The Congresswoman from Wisconsin is serving her sixth term (1999-) as member of the U.S. House of Representatives after having served three terms (January 1993-January 1999) as a Wisconsin State Representative for the 78th Assembly District (comprising central and south Madison). Before that, she served four terms as a Dane County (Wisconsin) Supervisor (1986-1994) representing the area of downtown Madison including the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Also in 1986, she served briefly on the Madison Common Council, filling an aldermanic vacancy. After taking her J.D. at University of Wisconsin (Madison) Law School, she practiced law in private practice (1989-1992). Her undergraduate credential is in mathematics and government.  

The Congresswoman is a leading advocate for universal health care and a proponent of energy independence and renewable fuels; a forceful supporter of civil rights and an advocate “for those in our society whose voices, too often, are not heard.” Her work in Congress “has brought together conservative as well as progressive thinkers to further state/federal partnerships toward passing legislation that will guarantee health care for all in America.”

In 2009, Representative Baldwin led successful efforts in the House to pass expanded hate crimes legislation. As Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, she is leading efforts to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and other civil rights initiatives. She is the lead author of legislation to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

The first woman Wisconsin has sent to the U.S. House of Representatives is quoted cautioning people she meets to ignore the naysayers, cynics, keepers of the status quo; and those who say “you can’t, you shouldn’t or you won’t.”


Introduced June 22, 2011, in U.S. House of Representatives 112th Congress 1st Session H. J. RES. 69 —
“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women”


Introduced [Sponsor: Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14]] June 22, 2011, in U.S. House of Representatives 112th Congress1st Session

JOINT RESOLUTION: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein),

That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

Article —

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.'.

Latest Major Action: 6/22/2011 Referred to House committee.
Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary

Sponsor: Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] (introduced 6/22/2011)    
Cosponsors 158:  Mrs. BIGGERT, Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. SARBANES, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. BACA, Ms. BALDWIN, Ms. BASS of California, Mr. BISHOP of New York, Ms. BROWN of Florida, Mr. BUTTERFIELD, Ms. CASTOR of Florida, Mr. CLARKE of Michigan, Ms. CLARKE of New York, Mr. CLYBURN, Mr. COHEN, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. COOPER, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. CUELLAR, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mrs. DAVIS of California, Ms. DEGETTE, Ms. DELAURO, Mr. DICKS, Mr. DINGELL, Mr. DOGGETT, Ms. EDWARDS, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. FARR, Mr. FATTAH, Mr. GONZALEZ, Mr. GRIJALVA, Ms. HANABUSA, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. HINOJOSA, Ms. HIRONO, Mr. HOLT, Mr. HONDA, Mr. INSLEE, Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. KILDEE, Mr. LANGEVIN, Ms. LEE of California, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mrs. LOWEY, Mr. MARKEY, Ms. MCCOLLUM, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. MCNERNEY, Mr. MEEKS, Mr. MILLER of North Carolina, Mr. NADLER, Mrs. NAPOLITANO, Mr. PALLONE, Mr. PASCRELL, Mr. POLIS, Mr. REYES, Ms. RICHARDSON, Mr. RICHMOND, Mr. RUPPERSBERGER, Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California, Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California, Mr. DAVID SCOTT of Georgia, Ms. SEWELL, Mr. STARK, Ms. SUTTON, Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Mr. TONKO, Ms. TSONGAS, Mr. WATT, Mr. WELCH, Ms. WILSON of Florida, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. BECERRA, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. BISHOP of Georgia, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Mr. BOSWELL, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. BRALEY of Iowa, Mrs. CAPPS, Mr. CAPUANO, Mr. CARDOZA, Mr. CARSON of Indiana, Ms. CHU, Mr. CICILLINE, Mr. CLAY, Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia, Mr. COSTA, Mr. COSTELLO, Mr. COURTNEY, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. DEFAZIO, Mr. DEUTCH, Mr. DOYLE, Mr. ELLISON, Ms. ESHOO, Mr. FILNER, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Ms. FUDGE, Mr. GARAMENDI, Mr. AL GREEN of Texas, Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. HIGGINS, Mr. HIMES, Ms. HOCHUL, Mr. HOLDEN, Mr. ISRAEL, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. KEATING, Mr. KIND, Mr. KUCINICH, Mr. LARSEN of Washington, Mr. LARSON of Connecticut, Mr. LOEBSACK, Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California, Mr. LYNCH, Ms. MATSUI, Mrs. MCCARTHY of New York, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California, Ms. MOORE, Mr. MORAN, Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut, Mr. OLVER, Mr. PASTOR of Arizona, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. PETERS, Mr. PETERSON, Ms. PINGREE of Maine, Mr. PRICE of North Carolina, Mr. QUIGLEY, Mr. ROTHMAN of New Jersey, Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. SCHIFF, Ms. SCHWARTZ, Mr. SHERMAN, Mr. SMITH of Washington, Ms. SPEIER, Mr. THOMPSON of California, Mr. TIERNEY, Mr. TOWNS, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Ms. VELAZQUEZ, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Ms. WATERS, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. WU, and Mr. YARMUTH)

Who is Representative Carolyn Maloney?

The Congresswoman from New York is serving her ninth term (1993-present) as member of the U.S. House of Representatives after having served on the City Council of New York City (1982-1992). Before that she held administrative and leadership positions with the office of the New York state senate minority leader (1979-1982), New York state assembly committee on cities (1977-1979), New York state assembly committee on housing (1977), New York City board of education center for career and occupational education (1975-1976, and the board of education welfare education program (1972-1975).

Congresswoman Maloney is considered “a champion for domestic and international women’s issues.” She is credited with having helped pass legislation that targets the ‘demand’ side of sex trafficking; provides annual mammograms for women on Medicare; the Debbie Smith Act which increases funding for law enforcement to process DNA rape kits. Representative Maloney’s legislation to create Women’s Health Offices in five Federal agencies was part of landmark health care reform legislation enacted by the Congress and signed by the president.

Several bills sponsored by Congresswoman Maloney were signed into law under Democratic and Republican administrations: H.R. 556 “Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007” (July 26, 2007); H.R. 627 “Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009” (May 22, 2009); H.R. 867 “Adoption and Safe Family Act” (November 19, 1997); H. R. 1088 “Investor and Capitol Fee Relief Act” (January 16, 2002); H. R. 800-9 “Education Flexibility Partnership Act” (January 16, 2002); S. 1379 - 4 “Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act” (October 8, 1998); H. R. 5107 - 34 “Justice for All Act of 2004” (October 30, 2004); S. 2845 “Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004” (December 17, 2004); and H. R. 972 - 16 “Trafficking Victims Protection Act” (June 10, 2006).

The first woman New York’s 14th Congressional District sent to the U.S. House of Representatives is quoted saying in reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment:

“It has been thrilling to see how far women have come in my lifetime [but] laws can change, government regulations can be weakened, and judicial opinions can shift.”

“The Equal Rights Amendment is still needed because the only way for women to achieve permanent equality in the United States is to write it into the constitution.… Making women’s equality a constitutional right… places the United States on record — albeit more than 200 years late — establishing women’s full equality in the eyes of the law.”

The ERA would have [should have] become the 27th Amendment to the Constitution. Its basic principle: that sex should not determine the legal rights of men or women.

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and further that “the Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article” was the simple, straightforward text of the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1923, shortly after women in the United States were granted the right to vote. The Amendment was approved by the U.S. Senate 49 years later (March 1972). It was then submitted to the state legislatures for ratification within seven years.
Thirty states ratified the Amendment within a year of Senate approval. Then intense opposition came from conservative religious and political organizations. Ratification came to standstill and despite a deadline extension to June 1982 the ERA was not ratified by the requisite majority: 38 states.

The U.S. Equal Rights Amendment) came closest to ratification in the 1970’s, when 35 states approved the amendment. Three states of the needed 38 failed to ratify.

Sources and notes



Britannica notes


Pioneer reformer who, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, founded the organized women's rights movement in the United States — Lucretia Coffin Mott was born January 3, 1793, Nantucket, Massachusetts; and died November 11, 1880, near Abington, Pennsylvania.

Seneca Falls — In 1848, Lucretia Coffin Mott took up the cause of women's rights and with Elizabeth Cady Stanton called a convention at Seneca Falls, New York, the first of its kind, “to discuss the social, civil, and religious rights of women.”

The convention issued a ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ modeled on the Declaration of Independence. The document stated that ‘all men and women are created equal . . . .’

From that time, Mott devoted most of her attention to the women's rights movement. She wrote articles (Discourse on Woman appeared in 1850), lectured widely, was elected president of the 1852 convention at Syracuse, New York, and attended almost every annual meeting thereafter. At the organizing meeting of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, Mott was chosen president.

Before Seneca — In 1833 Mott attended the founding convention of the American Anti-Slavery Society; and immediately thereafter, she led in organizing its women’s auxiliary, the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, of which she was chosen president. She met opposition within the Society of Friends when she spoke of abolition, and attempts were made to strip Mott of her ministry and membership. In 1837, she helped organize the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, and in May 1838 her home was almost attacked by a mob after the burning of Pennsylvania Hall, Philadelphia, where the convention had been meeting. Rebuffed as a delegate to the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840 because of her sex, Mott still managed to make her views known.

Post-war, Post-Seneca — After the Civil War, Lucretia Coffin Mott worked to secure the franchise and educational opportunities for freedmen; since passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, she and her husband had also opened their home to runaway slaves escaping via the Underground Railroad.

Lucretia Mott continued activism in the causes of women’s rights, peace, and liberal religion until her death. Her last address was given to the Friends’ annual meeting in May 1880.


American leader in the women’s rights movement who in 1848 formulated the first organized demand for woman suffrage in the United States, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born November12, 1815 in Johnstown, N.Y., and died October 26, 1902 in New York City.

Elizabeth Cady learned of the discriminatory laws under which women lived while studying law with her father. She then determined “to win equal rights for her sex.” Later with her husband, she attended the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840 in London and “was outraged” that several women delegates, notably Lucretia C. Mott, were denied official recognition because of their sex.” Thereafter Stanton spoke frequently on the subject of women’s rights and circulated petitions that helped secure passage by the New York legislature in 1848 of a bill granting married women’s property rights.

In 1848, she and Lucretia Mott issued a call for a women’s rights convention to meet in Seneca Falls, New York (where Stanton lived), on July 19–20 and in Rochester, New York, on subsequent days.

At the meeting, Stanton introduced her Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence, detailing the inferior status of women; and in calling for extensive reforms, effectively launched the American women’s rights movement. She also introduced a resolution calling for woman suffrage — adopted after considerable debate.

Stanton wrote and lectured constantly. She was the principal author of the Declaration of Rights for Women presented at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. In 1878, she drafted a federal suffrage amendment that was introduced in every Congress thereafter until women were granted the right to vote in 1920.

U.S. founding documents
Declaration of Independence - 1776
U.S. Constitution - 1787
Bill of Rights added to the U.S. Constitution - 1791


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