The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women. According to the late Justice Scalia, “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.” The ERA would change that. It would guarantee that “[e]quality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.” It would apply, for example, if the government passes a discriminatory law, or takes female assault victims less seriously than male victims, or imposes a tax that disadvantages women in particular, or denies female soldiers an equal chance to defend their country and move up in the ranks. The ERA would stand in the way of these and other discriminatory “state actions.”

The ERA must be ratified by 38 states to be added to the US Constitution. North Carolina has the opportunity to be State #38.