2019 Session: Arkansas lawmaker revives state push to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The backbone of our country’s laws begins with, “We the people.”

However, the U.S. Constitution does not officially recognize women.

Arkansas could make history by making that change. 

Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, after women’s rights activists fought for decades to include it. The measure seeks to establish an explicit guarantee of equal rights for all Americans regardless of sex.

Thirty-five states ratified it shortly after, and two more recently brought the total to 37. It needs one more state to join the push to amend the Constitution.

An Arkansas state senator filed a resolution Monday to do just that.

“Oftentimes, people will say, ‘What difference does it make?,'” said St. Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock. “It does make a difference in that we know, historically, our Constitution was not written to include women. The language here is pretty straight forward and simple that no one, even men, will be excluded from civil rights under the U.S. Constitution, the highest legal document in the land, on account of sex.” 

“People used to say, ‘Well, if we do this, we’re going to get into a lot of other issues, social issues like LGBTQ rights,’ and that has passed us by,” Elliott continued. “I don’t know what the issues are now.” 

This is the third time Elliott has filed the resolution and has yet to find a Republican sponsor this time around. 

Elliott plans to run the legislation Thursday and encourages women and men to show up at the state Capitol wearing white. 

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