In 1975, North Dakota’s legislature ratified the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. Now, lawmakers are a step closer to taking that back.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 4010, which passed in the Senate, rescinds the ratification from nearly half a century ago. Specifically, it clarifies that the 44th Assembly’s ratification was valid only through March 22, 1979. The resolution will head to the House after crossover.
The amendment reads “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 put a deadline on when states had to ratify it by 1982 — but supporters of the ERA say states can still act. Sandi Marshall advocated for the ERA in the 1970s and says the current resolution is a step backward. She is also the co-founder of ERA Now.
“It’s an embarrassment that we have a legislature that would pander to highly funded, out of state legislative efforts to try to get legislatures around the country to de-ratify as part of a larger agenda, and it just sends the wrong message,” Marshall said.
But as Linda Thorson at Concerned Women for America points out, women aren’t all in agreement on the amendment. Thorson supports the resolution because she says she worries the ERA could lead to all kinds of unintended consequences, like taxpayer-funded abortion for example.
Plus, she adds, the sunset provision Congress set decades ago makes any state ratification null and void, and the proper way to pass the ERA at this point would be starting from scratch.
“I am not a victim. Women don’t need to play the victim status to be treated equally. No one voting for this clarification is saying they don’t want equal treatment of men and women, we all want that. It’s just that this ERA has a problem in that it opens the door for other things — a genderless society is what I say,” Thorson said.
A similar piece of legislation to rescind the state’s ERA ratification came up last session, but narrowly failed in the Senate after passing the House.