U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) is leading a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers and public activists who want to make the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) part of the U.S. Constitution.
“Discrimination in any form is never acceptable,” Rep. Reed said during a Jan. 30 press conference. “We will continue our bipartisan campaign and as we work to ensure this historic amendment has a fair shot at being enshrined into our constitution – not only for the thousands of women who have been discriminated against, but for the next generation of women.”
During the press conference to announce their efforts, Rep. Reed was joined by U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), as well as by actresses/activists Patricia Arquette and Alyssa Milano and other stakeholders who want to ratify the ERA to the U.S. Constitution and guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex.
“We care about being a constant advocate to ensure change and consistent enforcement of anti-discrimination law, and we would like to thank Rep. Maloney and Rep. Speier for their unwavering commitment to this issue,” Rep. Reed said.
Rep. Maloney pointed out that American women’s rights are under attack. “And it’s happening, in part, because our Constitution does not contain the word ‘women.’ Because it does not guarantee our equal rights,” she said. “So, we need to make it clear, that equal means equal. To do that, we must spell it out in the Constitution: E-R-A. This will make a world of difference to all our children.”
Milano said, “The time is now to pass the ERA so that everyone in this country has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
“This is 2019, and it is time for the United States of America to afford women the equal rights they have been denied in their own nation for so long,” Arquette said. “It is time we step into our new future – the fair and equitable future American women have long been waiting for. We are done waiting.”
Carol Jenkins, co-president and CEO of the ERA Coalition; Sunu Chandy, legal director at the National Women’s Law Center; Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority; Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW); and Virginia General Assembly Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy also were among those who joined Rep. Reed and his colleagues during the press conference earlier this week.
“Including equality based on sex as part of the U.S. Constitution will highlight to everyone in this nation and beyond that the fight for women’s rights must continue until these rights are a reality for all of us, including for women of color, immigrant women, poor women, women with disabilities and LGBTQ individuals,” Chandy said.