10:35, December 19 387 0 abajournal.com

2019-12-19 10:35:04
Gender equality is ‘irrevocable tenet of our society,’ ABA president says

Man and woman weighted equally on a scale

Image from Shutterstock.

On Wednesday, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez urged members of the South Carolina General Assembly to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment—a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal rights for all Americans regardless of sex.

In her letter, Martinez contends that ratification of the ERA would “establish that gender equality under the law is a fundamental and irrevocable tenet of our society.” She says it would also strengthen the enforcement of current gender equity laws and require judges to use the same standard of review in cases involving sex discrimination that they already use in cases involving discrimination based on race, religion and national origin.

The ABA has long called for the ratification of the ERA, with the House of Delegates adopting positions of support in 1972—when the amendment was first passed by Congress—as well as in 1974 and 2016. The ERA has been ratified by 37 of the 38 states needed to make it part of the Constitution, and Congress will also have to address issues involving the expiration of a 1982 deadline for ratification.

“In the wake of ratification by Nevada and Illinois last year, we are encouraged by the strength of the effort underway in South Carolina and other states to make ratification a priority issue during the upcoming legislative session,” Martinez says. “This renewed momentum is a signal that enshrining the principle of gender equality in our Constitution is long overdue.”