3 states file lawsuit seeking to block ERA ratification

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Alabama's attorney general announced Wednesday.

Virginia could be the last state needed to ratify the ERA, but there could still be hurdles even if its supported by the General Assembly. | Credit: WHSV

The lawsuit comes in response to a renewed push to get the required 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment which would ban discrimination on the basis of sex. The lawsuit notes that Congress set a 1982 deadline to get the required 38 states to agree, and seeks to prevent David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, from accepting a new ratification from a state.

“The people had seven years to consider the ERA, and they rejected it. To sneak it into the Constitution through this illegal process would undermine the very basis for our constitutional order," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Marshall said Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota are committed to equality but contended the “ERA would not promote true equality, but rather a far-left agenda." He argued the amendment could be used to strike down abortion restrictions or require boys and girls to compete against each other in sports.

The amendment, submitted to the states in the early 1970s, would ban any discrimination based on sex. It fell short of the required 38 states needed to make it the 28th amendment to the Constitution. There is a renewed push in several capitols to become the 38th state to ratify the amendment and try to add it to the Constitution.

The lawsuit is filed in federal court in Alabama.