House OKs deadline extension to ratify ERA

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WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — For 97 years women have been fighting to ensure the US Constitution protects women from discrimination. Thursday, the US House took a step toward ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

In a historic step for women’s rights, the US House voted to remove the 1982 deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, 232-183.

“Justice Scalia said certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex, the only question is whether it prohibits it?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “It does not.”

Democratic lawmakers who have fought for years to ratify the ERA, say the Constitutional amendment would protect women from discrimination.

“Equality of sexes is not debatable,” said Washington Democrat Pramila Jayapal.

California’s Jackie Speier said, “Some will say, ‘Well, women already have equality’ while they vote against VAWA reauthorization, vote against paycheck fairness, chip away at Title IX.”

But many Republican lawmakers oppose the ERA.

“It’s interesting we’re talking about the rights of women today which, again, this bill doesn’t have anything to do with,” Georgia Republican Doug Collins said.

It’s really about abortion “which will require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws,” he said.

The House of Representatives vote is largely symbolic. Extending the deadline to ratify the ERA is not expected to happen in the Senate — and even if it did it would face more legal challenges. In the past 30 years, some states have tried to rescind their ratification votes.

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