Activists commemorate Equal Rights Amendment Centennial

Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - 2023 marks 100 years since the first introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), an aim to achieve equality of rights under the law for all sexes.

To commemorate the occasion, folks gathered outside of the State House in Augusta.

The event featured speakers such as Representatives Lois Reckitt, D-South Portland, and Holly Stover, D-Boothbay. There were also representatives from the Maine Women’s Lobby and the Department of the Secretary of State present.

Despite it being the centennial of the ERA, it still has yet to be included in the federal or Maine Constitutions.

“I purposefully haven’t said celebrate, I say commemorate, because we don’t have anything to celebrate, really, because it hasn’t gone into effect after 100 years,” explains organizer Barbara Cray from Maine Women’s Lobby. “100 years they tried to get equality and it’s just been turned away constantly. I mean, I’m so fortunate in the state of Maine, because the state of Maine is protecting women in many ways, even though there’s not a constitutional amendment.”

The Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified in 38 states since it was passed by Congress in the 1970s.

“You know, we’re now realizing that rights that people thought they have are being taken away, and only if there’s a constitutional provision that grants these rights will they be enforced in any meaningful way,” remarks Cray.