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Illinois Equal Rights Amendment Advocates Urge Ratification

Rachel Otwell
A Springfield area activist group calling themselves the Resistor Sisterhood paints rocks they are putting stickers on that link to info about the ERA. They will leave them for people to find.

Those in favor of a measurethey say would help get an amendment closer to being added to the U.S. Constitution will head to the Statehouse to lobbyfor it on Tuesday.

The ERA needed 38 states to approve it, but only 35 did by a 1982 deadline. Illinois was not one of them. Some argue if enough states come through ratification is still viable. 

Kari Tate is co-founder of a group that calls themselves the 'Resistor Sisterhood.' She said, "The ERA would give women an equal standing along with men - it's not just for women."

The amendment would seek to end a legal distinction between the sexes - which could help men in areas like divorce and child custody agreements.

Tate says one of the most important factors is that it would also help women to secure equal pay. Opponents have long argued it would hurt women - making them eligible for a draft, for instance. 

Tate explained that while Illinois already has language in its own Constitution similar to the ERA, "What it does, is it moves the conversation to the national level where it needs to be happening for other states that do not have the kind of protections that we do have."

Nevada ratified last year. Still, it's unclear what would happen if two more states do secure the votes for ratification, given the congressional deadline passed decades ago.

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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