Georgia Lawmakers Renew Push For Equal Rights Amendment

Jan 30, 2019

A bipartisan group of Georgia lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) and Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) were flanked by men and women representing both the state house and the senate as they made the announcement Wednesday afternoon. 

Each woman has sponsored an identical version of the measure, which only needs a simple majority of each chamber to pass. 

Unterman's resolution had 22 cosponsors, including the only other female Republican senator and several male colleagues.  

She said having a version authored by a Republican and one by a Democrat would give senate leadership the option of choice if they didn't want to vote on a "Democrat" bill. 

"Typically the minority party does not have the same opportunities the majority party does," she said, indicating there's no reason not to move forward with it.

"And we've been in conversation with Republicans who say they will be proud to go home and say that they helped advance the Equal Rights Amendment through the Georgia state senate," Orrock added. "That I believe will be the case in the house as well." 

So far, 37 states have ratified the amendment, which would add "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 the Constitution. 

Congress passed it in 1972, but it has not yet met the threshold of 38 states required to make it official. Only 35 states ratified the measure by the original deadline of 1982. 

Sen. Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain) said Georgia should be the last state to approve the change and lead the way for women.

"Women have been fighting for some version of this law for almost 100 years," she said. "Do we really want to reach a 100 year anniversary of saying no to equal rights for women?"