Why the Equal Rights Amendment could actually be damaging to women

By Kristy Burton-Brown - Posted at LiveAction:

A number of women’s groups in the nation are pushing for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) — which says “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” — to be resurrected after 37 years, and added to the U.S. Constitution. Passed by the U.S. Senate 47 years ago in 1972, it ultimately failed in 1982 when only 35 out of a required 38 states chose to pass it at the end of an extended ten-year deadline. Equal rights are already part of our Constitution, as the 14th Amendment, enacted shortly after the Civil War, says that states may not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” So when many people hear of an “equal rights amendment,” they fail to see the serious problems that could come from enacting the ERA. Here are five things everyone needs to know about the Equal Rights Amendment:

1. The Fourteenth Amendment already protects against discrimination on the basis of sex.

The proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment attempt to argue that women, specifically, do not receive adequate constitutional protection under the current Constitution. However, this is flatly incorrect. Sex is an impermissible basis for government discrimination, and the 14th Amendment guarantees that every person, regardless of sex, must receive equal protection under the law. Similarly, the 5th Amendment is the basis for extending this equal rights treatment to actions by the federal government. There is no doubt that if a woman brings a case and can demonstrate that a state or the federal government has discriminated against her on the basis of her sex, she will be deemed to have been treated unconstitutionally.

There is no need for the Equal Rights Amendment because men and women both receive equal rights and equal protection under the law in the current Constitution.

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