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Attorney General William Tong

02/11/2020

Attorney General Tong Calls on Congress to Take Steps Towards Ratification of Equal Rights Amendment

(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong today joined a coalition of 20 state attorneys general in submitting a letter strongly urging both houses of Congress to remove any ratification deadline that may apply to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and in doing so, clarify that ERA must become a part of the U.S. Constitution.

Constitutional amendments must be ratified by 38 of the 50 states. Earlier this year, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA. But then the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice took the position that the deadline for ratification has passed.

“The ERA must become the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The plain text and history of the Constitution are on our side. The Constitution says nothing about an expiration date for amendments. It took 203 years to ratify the 27th Amendment. The text of the ERA itself does not include a deadline. Congress has an opportunity and obligation to eliminate any confusion caused by the DOJ’s erroneous opinion and to get this done now. Women deserve equal treatment under our Constitution. Period,” said Attorney General Tong.

The ERA states that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” — explicitly guaranteeing protection against discrimination based on sex. After becoming the 38th state to ratify the ERA, Virginia has joined Illinois and Nevada in suing the federal government to compel official recognition of the amendment’s adoption. Relying on the DOJ’s opinion, the archivist of the United States, who is responsible for certifying ratification, has refused to certify the ERA. In the letter sent to Congressional leadership, the coalition calls for the passage of two pending resolutions that would eliminate any time limit that may apply to the ERA and clarify its eligibility for certification.

Joining Attorney General Tong in the coalition, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, includes the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.


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