WASHINGTON, D.C. — Equal rights for women may sound like a debate from 100 years ago, but a push to include a new Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution has hit a roadblock.
CONSTITUTION IMPACTS YOU
America's Constitution is the evolving document that impacts everyone's life. It protects people when they practice their faith or want to protest. The Supreme Court considers what's included in the Constitution before interpreting any case.
Currently, there are 27 amendments to the document, but many Americans believe there should be 28.
After all, 38 states, the necessary number, have ratified what's known as the Equal Rights Amendment, which says equal rights should not be denied to someone because of their sex.
Virginia was the 38th state to ratify it in 2020, and supporters contend it should have taken effect two years after the vote. That effective date occurred on Jan. 27.
WHY IT HASN'T BEEN ADDED
The amendment has not been added because some say it took states too long, and the process needs to start again.
The push for the Equal Rights Amendment began in the 1970s.
At the time, there were countless marches around the country because women felt the Constitution didn't explicitly say men and women were equal.
While several states ratified the amendment then, it didn't get the necessary number by a 1982 deadline.
Some in Congress say the deadline doesn't matter, but David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, says it does.
Ferriero is responsible for officially publishing the Constitution, and he believes there is too much debate about the issue. He believes Congress and the courts need to add clarity.
NEW FIGHT IN CONGRESS
"There has never been a battle for women's rights that hasn't taken a long time," Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, said during a recent press conference on the subject.
Speier is beginning a clarification process in Congress and wants a resolution passed to allow the amendment to take effect right away.
However, it is more likely the issue will ultimately be settled in the courts.
Since the 1970s, several states have attempted to retract their ratification, creating more legal questions.
For the moment, the Equal Rights Amendment is being left out of the Constitution and will not be considered by Supreme Court justices when they rule on controversial cases involving women in the coming months, such as abortion.