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Illinois endorses the amendment on Equal Rights, 36 years after the deadline



Illinois House voted Wednesday evening to ratify the amendment on equal rights more than 45 years after its approval by Congress, distracting it from any possible legal issues in the United States Constitution

Senate vote in April, the vote was only one vote more than was needed for ratification. It does not need the approval of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who said he supports the same rights, but has been criticized by Democrats for not taking a position on ERA.

"I am appalled and ashamed that the state of Illinois is not. I have done this before," said Democratic Representative Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego, a marine veteran. "I'm proud to be on this side of the story and I'm proud not only to help all the women who will help this, for whom this will send a message, but I am also here to set an example for mine To be a daughter. "

The driving force behind this move has been a resurgence of activism for women's rights in the midst of national demands to eradicate sexual discrimination and harassment in American culture in response to the #Metoo movement.

As has been the case for decades, the legislative debate on the equal opportunities amendment has been controversial. Opponents argued largely that the measure was aimed at expanding abortion rights for women. The advocates said it was necessary to give women equal status in the country's founding document.

The opponents also claimed that the measure could be in dispute, as their original 1

982 ratification period has expired. Proponents, however, argued that the ratification of the "Madison Amendment" of 1789, which prevents mid-term changes to Congressional terms, makes the ERA a legally feasible amendment to the Constitution.

State Representative Peter Breen of Lombard, an opponent of abortion rights He called the measure "an alleged constitutional amendment" and warned against adopting an "illegal act". But Breen also claimed that devotees "have nothing to do but expand their abortion rights."

"It will expand the taxpayer The funding of abortions could very well take back our law on parental abortion (for minors undergoing an abortion) and other negative effects on various abortion regulations," said Breen.

But Republican Representative Steve Andersson said the measure "does not act on these distractions."

"This is about who we are as a people, it's about who the state of Illinois is and should be, in the future," he said. "But it's more than just the state of Illinois, it's the United States of America, and frankly, I believe it's about the planet, and I think it's about how we treat women and men."

Representing divisions that went beyond the side-action, Wood Dale's GOP MP Christine Winger told her colleagues, "I'm for life, I'm back for life, I'm a mother of a 2-year-old daughter she and others to know in the state of Illinois that they should have the same opportunities as men. "Vote yes."

Republican MP Litesa Wallace, an African-American Democrat from Rockford, who leaves the house after making an offer lost for the vice-governor, tells the story of their suppression by supporting the ERA in the fight for civil rights

"I am the daughter of a man who was born on a plantation. I'm the granddaughter of a woman who left the South to come to Chicago, but she never found her because of her race and gender, "Wallace said during an emotional speech in which he demanded the transfer of the bill. "I'm standing here as a single mother who has survived damn near anything you can think of, and I mean that quite literally."

The 1970 Illinois Constitution prohibits gender discrimination. Nevada became the last state to ratify ERA before last year in Illinois.

"It's about the United States Constitution, the people, and half of the people in this country are not there," said Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat who supported the resolution in the House of Representatives. "It's not in the Constitution of the United States, is not it enough for you to recognize the historical moment and step back from the predispositions you've had and deepen your heels in this and that question and the other subject ?

Whether the amendment can be added The founding document of the nation is still the subject of debates between constitutionalists. Geoffrey Stone, a professor at the University of Chicago specializing in constitutional law, said it was unclear whether there was an obvious right or wrong answer.

Some critics have questioned the need for such a change to extend equal rights for women. Stone said the ratification of the amendment would "make a difference in marginal cases where the law allows discrimination today" and "would change many of the protective measures that women have taken over the decades."

"The main reason for adopting the same rights If you could do it legally today, constitutionally, that would be the symbolic meaning of the law," said Stone. "The rejection is in some ways insulting, so the symbolic meaning is who we are as a nation – what our aspirations are, what our values ​​are, that is an important confirmation of who we are."

rpearson @ chicagotribune.com

Twitter @ rap30

] wlukitsch@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @lukitsbill

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