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America’s Future Joins Call to Dismiss ERA Ratification Case

On Friday, March 11, 2022, twelve amici organizations, mostly nonprofit organizations including America’s Future, submitted an Amicus Brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in connection with State of Illinois and State of Nevada v David Ferriero, in his official capacity as Archivist of the United States, No. 21-5096 (2022).

At the heart of this case is an antiquated and expired movement to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution purporting to guarantee equal legal rights for American citizens regardless of gender. Lest we forget, since the birth of our nation, Americans have fought and died for freedom, liberty and equality. Undoubtedly one of the most steadfast and celebrated of them all is the “women’s movement.”

The women’s movement, particularly throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s (a revolutionary period of civil unrest and societal progress in America unto itself), the rise of the women’s movement hit its stride. While the women’s movement garnered more and more support over time, there was also a sharp divide within the leadership and rank and file and sooner than later, what it truly means to be a feminist was at issue.

This split within the movement came to a head in 1972 when the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed Congress and was quickly ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. At this time, before the ERA could alter the way of life in every American household, national leaders, both male and female, actually read the legislation and realized that despite its moniker, the ratification of the ERA Amendment to the Constitution would likely lead to adverse effects which would do everything but support women’s rights, including dismantling child custody rights and devastating rights to alimony. The ERA, Phyllis Schlafly (likely the most renowned feminist at that time opposing the ERA) realized would cause irreparable harm to women in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and beyond.

While proponents of the ERA drummed up support based on emotional rhetoric like “equal pay for equal work,” intellectuals and lawmakers understood the ERA was really about weaving a radical social agenda into our national framework of laws. As our Amicus brief states, the ERA would have resulted in shocking “subjecting women to the military draft and front-line combat; abolishing all laws regulating or prohibiting abortion; requiring taxpayer-funded abortions; undermining the proposition that marriage was only between a man and a woman; eliminating tax exemptions for churches with male-only clergy; ending single-sex schools and sports teams; establishing unisex prison cells, hospital and nursing home rooms, and school dormitories; and invalidating all legislation passed to protect women in the workplace.”

America’s Future along with the other named amici, posit that the Court of Appeals should affirm and uphold District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras’s dismissal of the Plaintiffs’ challenge to the Defendant’s refusal to certify the ERA as part of our Constitution. The District Judge dismissed this case for procedural reasons, including lack of standing to sue and the legal principle “laches,” which essentially stands for an unreasonable delay initiating suit or “sitting on your rights.” America’s Future believes the Court of Appeals should affirm the District Court’s dismissal and get rid of the ERA once and for all.

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