WASHINGTON – New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Rep. Gwen Moore, along with representatives from national women’s organizations, joined outside the Capitol-- as the U.S. Constitution was being read on the House floor-- to highlight the absence of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and restate the need for its passage.
Maloney, the prime House sponsor of the ERA in the last eight Congresses, said, “As the Constitution is read inside the Capitol today, America is hearing what is included in the Constitution. But we are here outside the Capitol to point out what is excluded: explicit equal rights for women under the Constitution. So, thanks to this new Majority-- and to Justice Scalia-- for making clear what we, here, already know: that women need equality written into the Constitution—an equality that cannot be easily repealed.”
Menendez, the Senate sponsor of the ERA in the last Congress, said, “Three out of four Americans assume that the Equal Rights Amendment is already part of the Constitution, and many others probably believe that social progress has eclipsed the need for it. But Justice Scalia’s recent comments have made it crystal clear that until equal protection for women is explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, the courts might not guarantee it. In 2011, I can do my banking on my cell phone, I can have all of my music and photos in the palm of my hand, I can even video chat with friends and families thousands of miles away -- but I still can’t guarantee to my daughter that our legal system will protect her against discrimination. It’s time to fix this.”
“It is mystifying to me that we are still fighting to ensure that equal rights for women is codified in our nation’s constitution,” said Rep. Nadler. “This amendment is common sense, nonpartisan, and long overdue. I proudly join Congresswoman Maloney, Senator Menendez, and Congresswoman Moore, along with the many committed women’s advocates across the country, in supporting this pivotal legislation.”
Moore, co-chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus, said, “It’s a wake-up call when a sitting Supreme Court Justice says there is no Constitutional protection for women against discrimination. Apparently women’s rights are at the whim of the Court and will remain that way without the Equal Rights Amendment.”