Illinois Becomes 37th State to Ratify ERA

Illinois has become the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The House voted 72-45 Wednesday. The vote came nearly 38 years to the day that supporters thought the amendment was dead because the Illinois Legislature failed to endorse it.

The constitutional amendment guarantees equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex. Thirty-eight states must ratify it to make it effective.

Illinois was one of 15 states not to ratify before a congressionally set 1982 deadline. But supporters have argued there's precedent to show that deadlines on constitutional amendments don't apply.

Rep. Lou Lang is the sponsor. The Skokie Democrat says the vote is a historic moment for women across the country.

Opposition during the two-hour debate ranged from concerns over more-accessible abortion to arguments that it would roll back protections for minorities.

The push to ratify took center stage once more after Nevada voted to ratify the amendment last year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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