On Thursday, June 25th, a powerful cross-section of labor, clergy, artistic, activist, philanthropic, anti-violence and consumer groups across the nation joined Equal Means Equal in throwing their vital support behind a federal lawsuit that demands the U.S. government validate and add the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
More than four-dozen organizations, including two official organizations representing original equal rights pioneers Alice Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, signed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit brought against the Trump administration by Equal Means Equal and the Yellow Roses, along with assault victim Katherine Weitbrecht.
The list of groups signing the amicus brief, which was filed today in U.S. District Court in Boston, includes: the Alice Paul Institute, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Church of Christ, CODEPINK, Campus Safety Advocacy Group, Dr. Bronner’s Family Foundation and the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG/AFTRA).
Other friends of the court who signed the brief include the National Congress of Black Women, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), the TransLatina Coalition, the National Girls Health and Justice Institute, American Association of University Women (Michigan, Florida), National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, WomenArts, Trafficking in America Task Force, Fuerza Mundial Global, The Women’s Coalition, Women’s National History Alliance, The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, Moms in Office, Association for Women in Psychology (Activism Caucus), Suffragist Memorial Organization, For Freedoms, Mid County Psychological Associates, The Nurtured Parent, MadMoms, Senior Care Options, and the Organic Consumers Association.
Rounding out the list of signers of the amicus brief are the National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance, Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund, Allies Reaching for Equality, ERA North Carolina Alliance, ERA Minnesota, Michigan ERAmerica, Houston Women’s March On, Albuquerque NOW ERA Task Force, Indivisible (Worcester, Maryland), Seattle NOW, Santa Fe NOW, Northern NJ NOW, PassERA, Michigan Woman Forward, Florida NOW, Fairfax County Commission for Women, The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Isle of Wight County Humane Society, Flora’s Refuge and Resource, New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center, Northern New Jersey NOW, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Women North Carolina, Woman’s Club of Olympia, and L.I.N.D.A., helping post-incarcerated and homeless women get back on their feet.
In their brief, the friends of the court argue that ERA will empower women who are being denied opportunities every day and will serve to push back against the institutional sexism that fuels economic, social and political inequality.
As attorney for the Amici Curiae, Arlaine Rockey writes: “The ERA has been ratified by thirty-eight states, ninety-seven years after it was first introduced in Congress. Women should not have had to wait this long, nor wait a minute longer, to have equal rights. Our country loses potential leaders in science, medicine, education, entrepreneurship, and government every day we limit opportunities based on sex.”
In addition, the brief asserts, “The pervasive de facto social inequality of women hurts their ability to achieve real political equality, and without political equality, including women not having parity in our state legislatures and in Congress, it is a massive struggle for women to achieve equality in society.”
EME President Kamala Lopez weighed in, “Alarming recent actions demonstrate that leaving the issue of ensuring equality in the hands of Attorney General William Barr is tantamount to leaving the health of the hens to the inclinations of the starving wolf.”
“Justice for women must be part of the greater conversation being held in America today. As a woman of color still fighting for basic human rights, I refuse to allow Bill Barr or the administration he represents to illegally step in at the eleventh hour and take away American women’s hard-fought right to equality under federal law.” Lopez added, “Blocking the ERA from becoming the 28th Amendment is the government’s overt attempt to maintain a brutal and illegal economic oppression over half the population. It is a system held firmly in place by the ever-present threat of real violence against us, which goes unpunished by our justice system. The depth and breadth of our support, evidenced by our AmiciCuriae, speaks to the reality: the gig is up. In today’s America, women shall have equal rights under our Constitution.”
EME Vice-President Natalie White said, “We are blown away by the groundswell of support for our case. We have long been surrounded with backers for the cause of equal rights, but for so many hard-working and dedicated supporters to step up with a resounding endorsement for our lawsuit speaks to the deep commitment for final validation of ERA. With millions and millions of members behind these organizations, it re-enforces our firm belief that we will prevail in this fight.”
The lawsuit filed in January in U.S. District Court in Boston argues that congressionally imposed deadlines for states to ratify the ERA are unconstitutional, calling on the courts to compel the Archivist of the United States to officially record ERA as the 28th amendment to the Constitution. The complaint also calls on the courts to reject any attempts by states to rescind their prior ratifications of the ERA. It is the first lawsuit regarding the newly ratified ERA to arrive in court, and the only ERA lawsuit brought entirely by women.
A hearing is scheduled for friday at 11am for EMEs case to protect ERA. The hearing by Judge Casper will take place by telephone, due to the coronavirus limitations.
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With love and thanks
Kamala, Natalie, Wendy, Arlaine and the EME team