One thing people quite frequently ask is what laws is [the Equal Rights
Amendment] going change. What do we need it for right this minute? The answer is, it’s not going change many laws right now, but that’s fine. It’s like the free speech amendment. When the framers put it
in the Bill of Rights, they didn’t think, “What laws is it going to change right now?” They thought, “This is a good principle to have in a constitution.” Equal rights for women is a principle that should be in the Constitution. It won’t change many laws right now. But down the pike, when the Supreme Court meets this, or that or the other problem, there will be a principle
in the Constitution that says women have equal rights to men. It really began starting before 1848, but then in the 1848 Convention, then finally, finally, finally women got the vote in 1920. Then, in 1923, the same women
who got the vote for women put the Equal Rights
Amendment before the Congress, and it was voted down. They put it in the Congress the next year, it was voted down. They put it in the Congress the next year, it was voted down. Until the modern women’s rights movement, it’d just languished there. But in that great surge in the 60s some women took it forward, and it passed lots and lots of states. It ended up three states short. Only in the late 90s did some law school students, who had been inspired by some work that a young man at the
University of Texas had done, they picked it up and they realized, actually, this deadline is a deadline that was set by Congress. If Congress sets the
deadline by majority rule, it can take away the
deadline by majority rule. In fact, we’ve gone forward, and we have just one state left to ratify the ERA. This is really a bipartisan issue. You know how polarized the
United States is right now. We’re likely to be pushed
in various directions, but the Republican Party was the party that was very much the supporter of the Equal Rights
Amendment at the beginning. The Democratic Party going along, dragging its heels for
complicated reasons. But even now, even in this polarized era, you find in many, many
states bipartisan support, or otherwise it wouldn’t have been able to get through those states.