Florida: Pass the ERA

Cross-posted from Florida Netroots

Passing the Equal Rights Amendment is long overdue. So far, it has been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. Currently in the Florida Legislature there are two concurrent resolutions, one in the House (HCR 8001) and one in the Senate (SCR 362) for our state to ratify the amendment. It can pass this year! You can help make it happen by calling and/or emailing your state representative and senator to urge them to support it.

Here's the language of the resolution:

WHEREAS, the Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and was filed every session thereafter from 8 1923 to 1972, and
WHEREAS, the Equal Rights Amendment was finally approved by Congress in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification with a 7-year deadline, and
WHEREAS, in 1978 Congress extended the original
ratification deadline for 3 more years, and
WHEREAS, Congress placed a deadline of June 30, 1982, onthe ratification process for the Equal Rights Amendment for men and women and 35 states ratified the proposed amendment before the deadline, and
WHEREAS, Congress submitted the Madison Amendment to the states as part of the proposed Bill of Rights on September 25, 1789, which relates to the timing of Congressional pay raises, but it was not ratified until 203 years later in 1992, making it the Twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution and establishing a precedent such that the Equal Rights Amendment is sufficiently contemporaneous and therefore remains viable, and
2WHEREAS, in 1998 Florida voters, by a margin of 65 percent to 35 percent, approved a similar amendment to the Florida Constitution when they approved Revision 9, which added and clarified that "all natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law," therefore clearly indicating that ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment would be fully consistent with the will of the majority of voters in this state, and
WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution allows the Legislature of the State of Florida to ratify this proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and
WHEREAS, the Legislature of the State of Florida finds that the Equal Rights Amendment for men and women is reasonable and sufficiently contemporaneous and needed in the United States
Constitution because while women enjoy more rights today than they did when the Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in 1923 or when it passed out of Congress in 1972, hard-won laws against gender discrimination do not rest on any unequivocal constitutional foundation and the laws can be inconsistently enforced or even repealed, and
WHEREAS, elements of gender discrimination remain in statutory and case law, and courts have had difficulty applying a consistent standard to gender classifications which are not inherently suspect or comparable to racial or ethnic classifications under equal-protection analysis, and
WHEREAS, the Equal Rights Amendment for men and women is necessary in order to have a clear constitutional guarantee that gender is considered a suspect classification and entitled to the same strict scrutiny that courts reserve for race, religion,
and national origin, NOW, THEREFORE,

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Florida, the Senate Concurring:

That the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States set forth below is ratified by the Legislature of the State of Florida.
"Article ____
"SECTION 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
"SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
"SECTION 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification."
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of the foregoing preamble and resolution be immediately forwarded by the Secretary of State of the State of Florida, under the great seal, to the President of the United States, the Secretary of State of the United States, the President of the Senate of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, and the Administrator of General Services of the United States.

According to the Florida Equal Rights Alliance, the ERA ratification bills are now in councils and committees:

We were able to convince Speaker Marco Rubio to give us an appointment, after years of requests, and likewise via his call-in show, to refer HCR 8001 to Councils! You have pitched in unbelievably by calling the House Council Chair Attkisson (850 488-8992) and Senate Judiciary Chair Villalobos (850 487-5230), and members to urge the bill be agendaed and moved. Keep it up. They are reporting that your calls are really coming in, making a big difference, some are even cosponsoring. Way to GO! We are still lacking the few votes to get it passed out of each committe, though. Once agendaed, we’ll call upon YOU to work your miracles on the phones.

Again, please contact your legislators and urge them to support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

A special thank-you to all the current co-sponsors:

Representatives: Juan Planas (R), Loranne Ausley (D), Mary Brandenburg (D), Ronald Brise' (D), Susan Butcher (D), Faye Culp (R), Joyce Cusack (D), Keith Fitzgerald (D), Audrey Gibson (D), Bill Heller (D), Ed Homan (R), Evan Jenne (D), Martin Kiar (D), Rick Kriseman (D), Janet Long (D), Matthew Meadows (D), Peter Nehr (R), Ari Porth (D), Scott Randolph (D), Curtis Richardson (D), Julio Robaina (R), Franklin Sands (D), Elaine Schwartz (D), Darren Soto (D), Shelly Vana (D) and Juan Zapata (R).

Senators: Gwen Margolis (D), Arthenia Joyner (D), Mike Bennett (R), Ted Deutch (D), Al Lawson (D), Jeremy Ring (D), Nan Rich (D), Dennis Jones (R), Steven Geller (D), Charlie Justice (D) and Fredrica Wilson (D).

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