Something great is going to happen very soon. What could this be, might you ask? Well, put on your pink hats and let me tell you.
You remember that thing known as the Equal Rights Amendment? The one Congress passed in 1972? You remember. The one that then needed 38 state congresses to step up to the plate themselves to pass — each by a solid 2/3 majority vote in order to ratify the U.S. Constitution?
Well, 36 of the required 38 states put on their big-boy pants and did their duty for the cause of equality for all. It’s been a while, so why not give yourself a little refresher on the whole thing. Here’s some Wiki sourcing for you:
Equal Rights Amendment – Wikipedia
So, lady justice needed just two more states to get their vote on. No big deal, right? We just needed to give it a little bit of time, and of course a couple states would come around right? Women make up 51% of the U.S. population and we have all day. So to speak.
Um, not so fast. The good old boys in Congress and all those clot-red states with their constipated right wing Houses knew the numbers back then like a science. They knew that if they put a 7 year time limit on it, there was no way enough of the remaining states would have time to flip their own Houses. It would time out, then back to the kitchen with these uppity breeders and gender traitors. That wrap this annoying little mess up, surely.
But wait just a moment. Americans don’t just belly up without a fight. When that 7 years was just about to run out, Congress got heroic and voted in a 2 year extension.
Yippee? Uh oh, not so fast. That 2 years came and flew by in no time. 1982 was a dud. A big gong went off as time expired. It was all over for the E.R.A.. The little ladies would get to know their place.
Leaders concede Loss on Equal Rights (1982 archive)
All over but the whimpering, right?
Maybe not. Turns out, one Amendment that was first passed in the 1789 had a similarly-difficult time getting ratified. The 27th Amendment demanded concessions by the good old boys that were perhaps even more coveted than equal rights: their right to rob their constituents at will to fatten their pockets. The 27th Amendment simply said that if Congress passes a pay raise for themselves, they don’t see any of the profits until the next elected Congress has a chance to approve it or burst their greed-bubble. The 27th failed to get 2/3 of the U.S. states to agree to it for a little more than 202 years. It wasn’t until 1992 that Illinois broke the barrier and ratified the Constitution.
So, in a nutshell, what this means is that the expiration date for ratification of Constitutional amendments isn’t specified in Article V of the Constitution where its own ratification is termed. So, we just have to wait for one more state, now, right?
Oooh, but wait just a minute, sparky. You thought it was going to be that easy? Think again. A literal handful of states (clot-red ones, of course) thought, “Well, heck with it then. We’ll just un-vote for the stupid thing and see how they like trying to ratify it now. Ha.”
That would have been something. A huge win for old white men who never wanted women doing anything other than squeezing out sons and frying up more bacon. You probably guessed how that turned out: turns out that pesky Article V doesn’t mention a thing about reverse momentum of progress. Not a word about rescinding ratification votes. So, those 5 states:
- South Dakota, and
were all sadly disappointed. They had to explain to their voters why they had wasted their money on a completely irrelevant vote to attack 51% of their population. If you’re doing the math, we’re still only one state away from the E.R.A.’s passage.
That brings us to today. So, which 2 states are going to burst the glass ceiling?
Did I say 2? Strike that. One down, one to go. Illinois was the state to do it with the 27th, and yesterday they became the 37th state to ratify the 28th. You probably heard in the news that Illinois just ratified the E.R.A., themselves. Read the breaking news in the New York Times about it. They got it done with a convincing 72-45 vote, pushing ratification one state vote away:
Illinois Passes Equal Rights Amendment, More Than Three Decades After Deadline
So, who’s it going to be? There are already office pools popping up everywhere that right wing prying eyes don’t know (don’t have clearance) to look. Bets are on for what state is going to do it; by what margin; and when. As this is the year of gurl power, it is most certainly going to happen. Determining what state is going to christen the ship just requires knowing which ones are in the running; a bit about their legislative makeups; and what kind of progressive momentum is simmering under their seats.
Here are all the states you have to choose from:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Utah, and
Hmmm. Batter up.