“We’ve come a long way, baby… But we’re not all the way.” That’s how Former State Senator Helen Foley (D) described the progress of women’s rights in Nevada up until now. She testified in support of SJR 2 in the Assembly earlier this month. Today, the Senate took the final step needed for Nevada to officially be put on record in support of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
On March 22, 1972, Congress voted to add the ERA to the U.S. Constitution. But since Indiana became the 35th state to ratify in 1977, ratification had stalled. Feminists pursued a “three-state strategy” to reach the 38 state threshold required by the Constitution for an amendment to be added. But once the 1982 statutory deadline came and went, the ERA was declared dead.
Did opponents declare it dead too soon? On March 22, 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the ERA.
Following an otherwise ordinary Senate floor session that featured votes on other bills (and introduction of the long awaited property tax cap reform bill), the Senate moved to Order of Business 14. Following a final statement in opposition from Senator Joe Hardy (R-Boulder City) and final statements of support from sponsor Senator Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas) and Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D-Spring Valley), the Senate approved by voice vote minor amendments made to SJR 2 in the Assembly.
Since SJR 2 requires no action from Governor Brian Sandoval (R), Nevada has just approved ratification of the ERA.
The fight is far from over at the federal level. Religious right opponents still contend the ERA has expired. And it remains to be seen if/when States #37 and #38 come forward. But for now, feminists can finally celebrate the “three-state strategy” becoming the “two-state strategy” thanks to Nevada.