By voting to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, the Illinois Senate has recognized what women everywhere know to be true. We still need the ERA. In fact, we need it more than ever.
It’s unconscionable that the U.S. Constitution fails to guarantee equal rights for everyone, regardless of gender. Fixing these flaws is not only proper, it is essential to the continuation of our democracy. Our Constitution is not set in stone—it’s a living document that must reflect our core values and principles in today’s world.
Illinois has now taken a historic step towards becoming the 37th state to ratify the ERA. Thirty-eight states are needed to ratify the ERA in order to amend the Constitution. Ratification efforts are ongoing in Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina and Florida where state legislatures are facing a blue tide of electoral activities and women voters are demanding equal representation and equal rights.
It’s significant that this vote took place one day after Equal Pay Day, which underscores the inequality women face in the workplace.
Illinois NOW President Michelle Fadeley said after the vote,
“Illinois NOW applauds the Illinois Senate for their bipartisan support on this history-making vote. We also thank Senate bill sponsor Heather Steans for leading the charge, and the new Illinois Senate bipartisan Women’s Caucus for their stand for equality for our state and nation.”
NOW members in every state join our sisters and allies in Illinois in celebrating this vote. We look forward to the Illinois House joining their colleagues in voting to ratify the ERA, but the battle in the House is uphill, A bipartisan vote of 71 members is needed to win approval and the General Assembly has 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans. A vote could occur before the end of May.