LETTER: On Minnesota’s Equal Rights Amendment

To the Editor:

 

March is Women’s History Month. Since the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, women have made significant gains. Despite this progress, women do not have equal protection under Minnesota’s Constitution.

Recently, the Minnesota House discussed and passed a bill to place the following question on the 2020 General Election ballot: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that equality under the law must not be abridged or denied on account of gender?” Here is the background:

The federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights. It seeks to end the legal distinctions between men and women in terms of divorce, property, employment and other matters. The ERA was passed by Congress in 1972, and sent to states for ratification. To be added to the U.S. Constitution, it needs approval by legislatures in 38 out of 50 states. Currently, 37 states have ratified the ERA. Minnesota ratified the ERA in 1973.

The bill we passed proposes a similar amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. It’s a step forward in guaranteeing equality for women and ensuring fair treatment by the courts, employers, state and local governments, health care providers and others. It represents Minnesota’s commitment to equality, and rejects discrimination based on gender.

I am grateful for all the women before me and those who continue to make this a reality for all of us.

 

Rep. Connie Bernardy

District 41A

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