FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RALEIGH, NC, April 16, 2019 - The League of Women Voters of Wake County strongly endorses a resolution passed this evening by the Apex Town Council calling on the NC General Assembly to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). With the filing of NC House Bill 271 and Senate Bill 184 in March of this year, North Carolina has the opportunity to become the 38th and final state needed to ratify.
US women continue to experience workplace discrimination, health care inequities, disparate rates of poverty, human trafficking, interpersonal violence, and a lack of political parity. The ERA is needed to help correct systemic sex discrimination, since the US Constitution does not explicitly guarantee that all the rights that it protects are held equally by all citizens without regard to sex. State and federal laws are neither uniform nor comprehensive; they can be repealed or inadequately enforced or interpreted. The 14th Amendment's equal protection clause has never been interpreted to guarantee equal rights for women in the same way the ERA would, by making sex a suspect category invoking strict judicial scrutiny, as race, national origin and religion do. As Elaine Okal, co-chair of the League ERA committee, notes, “There are many reasons why the ERA is important, especially in guaranteeing economic equality for women and families. Earnings inequality for working women translates into lower lifetime pay, higher rates of poverty, and less income for families, communities, and state economies. If working women in NC were paid the same as men, the poverty rate among working women would be reduced by more than half.”
LWV has supported ratification of the ERA since Congress first passed the amendment in 1972. The Wake County Board of Commissioners endorsed a similar resolution on March 18, 2019. LWV-Wake urges all Wake municipalities to call on the GA to pass House Bill 271/Senate Bill 184. Even more so, we urge the GA to step up and make North Carolina the state that finally confirms the ERA’s place in the US Constitution.
The League of Women Voters of Wake County is a grassroots nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizens’ participation in government and to the understanding of important issues through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters neither endorses nor opposes political parties or candidates. Learn more at www.lwvwake.org.
LWV-Wake Communications Coordinator
Marian Lewin LWV-Wake President