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TRENTON – Senators M. Teresa Ruiz and Sandra B. Cunningham today restated their support as sponsors of the Senate Joint Resolution 55 urging the United States Congress to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

“It’s almost incomprehensible that a nation founded on principles of freedom from oppression would still be mired in the debate about the rights of women,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex).  “We need to end this embarrassing chapter in American history by finally passing the ERA.”

“To fully protect the rights of women today and for all generations to come, it’s high time our nation ratified sex equality once and for all as a fundamental principle in the U.S. Constitution,” added Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson).

Senators Ruiz and Cunningham appeal for the completion of a legislative process begun in New Jersey in 1923.  Then, suffragist leader Alice Paul, who was instrumental in the passage of the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote, and Crystal Eastman authored the ERA which was introduced for the first time in the United States Congress that same year.

In 1972, the ERA passed the United State Congress and was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification. Congress set a ratification deadline of March 22, 1979, and through 1977, 35 of the required 38 states had ratified the amendment.  In 1978, a joint resolution of the United States Congress extended the deadline for ratification to June 30, 1982.

Five states rescinded their ratifications of the ERA prior to June 30, 1982, and no other states ratified the amendment between 1979 and the 1982 deadline. As a result, the ERA was not adopted as part of the Constitution.

The ERA has been reintroduced in every session of the United States Congress since 1982. The last time it received a floor vote in Congress was 1983.

On January 23, 2017, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Ed Markey (D-MA) reintroduced the ERA in the United States Congress.

The Senate Joint Resolution passed 37-0 and next goes to the Assembly for consideration.