When Congress sent a proposed constitutional amendment for women’s rights to the states more than 37 years ago, Louisiana was never officially given the opportunity to weigh in on the still-controversial issue. But during the seven years following its original introduction, the Equal Rights Amendment was eventually ratified by 35 state legislatures — just three shy of what’s still needed to make an alteration to the U.S. Constitution.
That could all change on Wednesday of next week, when the Senate in the Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to hear Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 by Sen. Yvonne Dorsey, D-Baton Rouge. The resolution would give Louisiana one more chance to ratify the amendment, which states that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Louisiana first entered the policy fray on June 7, 1972, when the state Senate ratified the proposed amendment by a 25-13 vote. The House of Representatives, however, did not follow suit. But even if Louisiana falls in line this time around, that doesn’t mean the ERA will go on the books. Rather, a long and heated legal battle will likely ensue.
For more on the ERA and Louisiana, check out “Have constitution, will unravel,” which was published by The Ind last month.