Equal Rights Amendment backers urge movement on bills at NC General Assembly They plan to sweeten the action with cookies and personal stories June 7th

 Durham, NC – The Equal Rights Amendment North Carolina Alliance is holding an “I Love the ERA” event at the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 2 p.m. In an effort to alert the members of the House and Senate Committees on Rules of the importance of HB102 and S85, participants will distribute heart-shaped cookies and literature, and share why they feel the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) should be ratified.

The ERA is a Constitutional amendment affirming the legal equality of the sexes that simply states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

 Congress passed the amendment in 1972, but the bill received only 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications by the deadline in 1982. However on March 22, 2017, the state of Nevada determined the amendment could still be legally viable and ratified the ERA, making it the first state to do so in 40 years and accelerating the nationwide push for the final two ratifications.

The two bills for ratification of the ERA were introduced in the NC General Assembly in February; they were sent to the House and State Committees on Rules, where bills frequently expire without being considered or voted on. With the General Assembly currently moving to shorten this year’s session, our hope is to draw their attention to the need to pass bills out of committee and inform the members about the issue of the ERA in general.

Gailya Paliga, President of NC National Organization for Women, noted that the Constitutional amendment would strengthen existing laws intended to prevent gender discrimination and assist courts in negating the effect of laws that hurt women and their families. “Bad laws are only meeting their match in the courts,” Paliga says. “Often it is federal courts which are stopping bad laws, but unfortunately the courts aren’t undoing the damage done by bad laws such as pay and pregnancy discrimination.”

“I support the ERA because I believe it gives a strong constitutional basis for nondiscrimination and the preservation and development of women’s rights,” says Emily Hagstrom, a Public Policy and Political Science major at UNC Chapel Hill, who will participate in Wednesday’s event. Without the ERA, Hagstrom says, “I feel like my state views women’s desire for equality as an extreme, irrational and foolish claim, and does not value my life.”

Using cookies for this event is in reference to an incident in 2013, when former Governor Pat McCrory handed pro-choice demonstrators cookies while they were protesting the infamous ‘Motorcycle Vagina Law.’ McCrory’s gesture was questioned as being patronizing. Our gesture is intended to demonstrate to the members of the House and Senate Rules Committees that the women of North Carolina don’t want a cookie and platitudes; they want true legal equality in the United States.

Gloria Thomas, director of the Carolina Women’s Center, says ratification of the ERA is essential. “ALL women deserve equality of rights under the law,” she says. “Once enacted, there can be no confusion about and justification for unequal treatment of women. When cases are brought before judges at any level, there will be no misinterpretation of laws to perpetuate such treatment. Simply put, equal means equal.”


About the ERA-NC Alliance:

The ERA-NC Alliance (www.era-nc.org) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization seeking ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. constitution. Membership is open to individuals and organizations committed to ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Lead organizations include the American Association of University Women of NC, Democratic Women of NC, League of Women Voters of NC, NC4ERA, NC Business and Professional Women, NC National Organization for Women, NC Women United, Ratify ERA- NC and the Women’s Forum of NC. The Alliance operates in direct collaboration with the national ERA Coalition (www.eracoalition.org).

For more information contact: Audrey Muck, fanninmm@gmail.com, 336-480-1947

Copyright © 2017 ERA-NC Alliance, All rights reserved.
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