DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Forty-five years ago today, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. That amendment would have insured women have equal rights to men, but it was never adopted. It fell three states short of the 38 needed within a 10-year window, which makes it noteworthy that today Nevada is set to become the 36th state to adopt the ERA. Carrie Kaufman from Nevada Public Radio has more.
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PAT SPEARMAN: The Equal Rights Amendment is about equality, period. We as Nevadans lead when it comes to equality for all.
CARRIE KAUFMAN, BYLINE: Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman introduced the Equal Rights Amendment on the Senate floor earlier this month. The former Army lieutenant colonel and pastor says it's time. Even though the deadline Congress gave states to ratify the ERA has long passed, Spearman argues that it doesn't matter.
SPEARMAN: It wasn't a part of the amendment that was proposed by Congress. So that's why the time limit is irrelevant.
KAUFMAN: Constitutional Scholar Erwin Chemerinsky at the University of California, Irvine thinks there may be an argument that the Equal Rights Amendment would come into force if two more states ratify it. He points out that it took 203 years for the 27th Amendment to pass.
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY: The bottom line is we don't know what it will mean if Nevada and two other states ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. We don't know whether that will be sufficient or not. I think there's a strong argument it'd be sufficient. There's also arguments on the other side.
KAUFMAN: Critics in the legislature say this is just symbolism. Spearman says it may well be.
SPEARMAN: Passage may not make it perfect. But what passage does is it gives us a pathway towards a more perfected union.
KAUFMAN: The National Organization for Women says they plan to mobilize activists to ratify the amendment in at least two more states.
For NPR News, I'm Carrie Kaufman in Las Vegas.
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