Ahead Of Senate Vote, Durbin Calls On His Colleagues To Support The Equal Rights Amendment

Durbin: “If we want to live up to the promise of America, we need to protect the rights of every American. Let’s start with the ERA.”

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on his colleagues to support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which would enshrine gender equality into the Constitution.  The Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to this resolution later today.  In February, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the ERA, the first Senate hearing on the topic since 1984. 

“The language of it [ERA] is so expressed and so clear that most people in the United States really would be surprised to know it’s not already in the Constitution—no discrimination against people on the basis of sex.  Most people assume that’s the fact, but it’s not.  We have to do something about it,” said Durbin.  “The Equal Rights Amendment is literally a century in the making, and over the years, generations of Americans have done their part to push it forward.  They’ve marched on Washington, they’ve met with Congressmen and Senators, and as of 2020, they’ve crossed a crucial threshold—ratification of the ERA in 38 states.  That’s the exact number of states needed to certify it as the 28thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution.” 

Durbin continued, “So now it’s time for lawmakers in Congress to do our part in supporting the ERA.  We need to clear a path for equality.  And this proposal, this bipartisan proposal from Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, is our chance to do it.  It will remove the arbitrary deadline Congress imposed on ERA ratification more than 50 years ago and removing that deadline has never been more important.”

Durbin went on to argue that given what we have seen over the past year, including the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, there is no room for uncertainty when it comes to protecting equal rights under law.

“Right now, women all across America are living with the reality that their fundamental freedoms are under attack.  In the months since the disastrous Dobbs decision, millions of Americans have been robbed of their reproductive rights,” Durbin said.  “Without ERA protections, even basic rights like reproduction are on the chopping block—protections against discrimination in the workplace, in the classroom, even in the courtroom.  Unless women’s rights are explicitly protected under the Constitution, there’s nothing stopping the right-wing majority on the Court from ripping them away.  That’s why Congress must restore and protect women’s rights in all facets of life.”

Durbin concluded, “If we want to live up to the promise of America, we need to protect the rights of every American.  Let’s start with the ERA.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here. 

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.