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36 years late, Illinois just ratified the Equal Rights Amendment

36 years late, Illinois just ratified the Equal Rights Amendment
[Photo: Flickr user Daniel X. O’Neil]

Last Wednesday, Illinois ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, a mere 45 years after it was approved by Congress and 36 years past the 1982 ratification deadline, according to the Chicago Tribune. The 72-45 vote by the House, follows an April vote by the Senate who also passed the long overdue piece of legislation that was designed to guarantee equal rights for women.

If you haven’t read it, the heart of the amendment is this: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” While the bill was originally passed in 1972, the ratification process continues to drag on.

Illinois isn’t the only state that is tardy to party—Nevada ratified the ERA last year. With Illinois signing on at long last, the ERA is now just one state away from possibly becoming a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution, although the timeline has raised some legal questions. While some legal scholars argue that the deadline for ratification is past and the amendment is no longer legally viable. Others claim that since the so-called Madison Amendment, which was originally written in 1789, was ratified in 1992 (that’s over 200 years later, math whiz) the ERA is still legally become an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. You’re next, North Carolina (or Florida or Georgia or Arizona).

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