The United States Senate failed to secure the necessary votes to guarantee gender equality in the Constitution on Thursday. Despite the proposal introduced over a century ago. Senate Democrats and supporters fell nine votes short of the required 60 votes to overcome the filibuster hurdle. With the resolution receiving 51 votes in favor and 47 against. The proposed resolution aimed to eliminate the 1982 deadline for state ratification that prevented the Equal Rights Amendment from taking effect. With three states – Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia – having approved it after the deadline.
The Senate’s leading Democrat, Chuck Schumer, highlighted the importance of the ERA. Particularly in light of last year’s Supreme Court decision that overturned the national right to abortion. Prior to Thursday’s vote. He stated that “women in America have far fewer rights today than they did even a year ago”. A sentiment shared by millions of Americans. However, groups opposed to abortion have argued that the ERA could provide a constitutional pathway for making abortion a right. And the failure of the amendment is likely to lead to increased focus on women’s rights during 2024 presidential campaign.
Passing the resolution on Thursday would have required the support of nine Republican Senators, a significant challenge given that Democrats hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate. Only two Republican Senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, joined the Democrats in voting for the measure.
Although the ERA was first proposed in 1923, it did not pass Congress until 1972. As per US law, constitutional amendments must be ratified by three-fourths, or 38 of the 50 state legislatures. And do not require presidential approval. However, a US District Court ruled in 2021 that ratifications after the deadline “came too late to count”, and a federal appeals court in February rejected calls from Illinois and Nevada for the ERA to be adopted.
The Trump administration had argued that ERA ratification needed to start over. While the Biden administration has yet to formally change that position, but voiced support for the resolution on Thursday. The White House said, “It is long past time to definitively enshrine the principle of gender equality in the Constitution.” Proponents of the amendment argue that it would ensure women receive equal pay and have their rights secured in legal matters, while opponents contend that it could lead to women subjected to military drafts if reinstated.