ERA defunct; threat to religious liberty neutralized

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Michael F. Haverluck (

Stand Up for Religious FreedomA direct assault on Christian values met its match last week when the Equal Rights Amendment was unable to gain approval by the requisite number of states by the prescribed deadline.

After the Department of Justice announced last week the failure of the pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ Equal Rights Amendment to get enough states to support its ratification by its deadline, evangelical leaders considered the news a victory for Christians and pro-family advocates.

Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver argues that the passage of the legislation pushed by the left would have dealt a severe blow to religious liberty and the safety of families. "The religious freedom of individuals, churches and faith-based organizations would have been jeopardized, as well as the rights and privacy of women," he asserts in a press release.

In addition, says the attorney, the ERA's defeat spells out victory for the pro-life movement and champions of family values.


"If the Equal Rights Amendment had passed, it would have unleashed a direct assault on the sanctity of human life by prohibiting all restrictions on abortions," Staver continues. "I also think the ERA would have included an LGBT agenda that would be forced upon others who uphold marriage as between one man and one woman."

And that's not all it would do, according to his nonprofit legal firm.

"The ERA would also compel females to compete against males in sports; abolish female privacy in prisons, locker rooms, women's shelters, nursing homes, and hospitals; subject women to selective service registration and front-line ground combat," Liberty Counsel stresses.

An attack on Christian rights quashed … for now

The Department of Justice says Democrats, LGBTQ activists, and other progressives trying to push the legislation through via Congress missed their window of opportunity.

"Congress may not revive a proposed amendment after a deadline for its ratification has expired," the DOJ's opinion reads, saying it would have to propose the amendment anew to push it in the future.

Liberty Counsel contends proponents of the ERA have used a false narrative to push the problematic legislation that attacks Christian values. "[T]he DOJ opinion is timely because abortion advocates have been pushing the false argument that the ERA is still alive and can still be ratified," the legal firm argues.

The claims of discrimination and sexism, according to Liberty Counsel, have also been used by the left to move the legislation forward.

"The ERA has been marketed to Americans as promoting simple 'equality' and 'putting women into the Constitution,' and mandating 'equal pay for equal work' – however, any sex-based distinction in a law would be unconstitutional under the ERA, and a law banning abortion clearly makes a sex-based distinction because only women become pregnant," the legal group contends.

"Since legal abortion has no actual constitutional authority, the three-state ERA ratification process has been an intentional act from activists to place the legal authority for the killing of unborn children into the Constitution …"

Proponents of the ERA did not get three-fourths of the states (38) needed to pass the Constitutional Amendment, which states the "Equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or by any state on account of sex."

Despite its failure, the ERA quickly gained the support from a majority of the states.

"In just 12 months, 30 states had ratified it, [while] 14 of the states did so without any hearings, committee action, debate, or input from the voters," Liberty Counsel informs. "During 1973 to 1977, five more states ratified the ERA; however, during the same time period, five other states – Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky and South Dakota – withdrew their ratifications. The states that never ratified the ERA were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia."

And the legal group notes that the wording put forth defies science by arguing males and females are the same and should be treated the same in every way.

"The deceptive language of the ERA does not allow any distinctions between men and women …" the legal team notes. "As a result, the ERA would have considered all restrictions on abortions as sex discrimination and been used to overturn the partial-birth abortion ban, third-trimester abortion ban, and parental notice of minors seeking an abortion. It would have been also used to mandate taxpayer funding of elective Medicaid abortions."

In 1983, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) testified at a hearing on the ERA before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Suppose that the Federal Government provided funding for procedures designed to treat most diseases, but enacted a special exclusion for sickle cell anemia, which affects only black people," the pro-life leader said at the time. "The courts would certainly declare that exclusion unconstitutional."

Virginia has been in the news of late as it sought to become the 38th state to ratify the ERA.


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