SPRINGFIELD - After decades of trying and failing, Wednesday night radical feminists, gay rights activists and abortion promoters finally were successful in pushing the Illinois General Assembly to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. After passing the Illinois Senate in April, the ERA passed the Illinois House with only one vote to spare, making the national effort one short of the ratification requirement of 38 states.
The wording that passed the US Congress in 1972 to be sent to the states for three-fifths to approve adding to the U.S. Constitution says, "(1) Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex; (2) The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article; (3) This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification."
But the US Congress also put a seven year time limit on the proposal, and then added three more years, forcing a deadline of 1982.
So that means if Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina or Virginia becomes the 38th state to ratify the ERA, it may all be a hollow success because already, the effort is 36 years beyond the Congress-imposed deadline.
But, supporters say, Congress changed the deadline once. They can do it again - can't they? Yes, the Congressional Research Service said in 2013.
And that issue may be a reason for conservatives to get to the ballot box in November - to keep Nancy Pelosi and a Democrat majority in the US House from changing the ERA's deadline.
But it may also be a reason for Illinois conservatives to protest by staying home in November. Frustrated with a governor that has abruptly dismissed the Republican Party base by signing into law a bill forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions their conscience abhors, embracing immigration policy that makes Illinois in effect a sanctuary state, along with dropping any effort to repeal last year's income tax hike by approving a budget that demands the hike, conservatives are losing reason to be enthused about this year's election.
Not to mention the day after the ERA's leading sponsor won the vote, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Chicago) was accused of harassing a female activist, forcing him to resign from prominent leadership roles in the Illinois House.
Lang's embarrassing situation provoked a post-ERA vote from the late ERA leading opponent Phyllis Schlafly's son Andy:
Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang pushed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) through last night, falsely pretending that women have been excluded from the Constitution.
Less than 24 hours later, he has resigned from his leadership post amid scandalous allegations by a woman that he committed “terrible acts against her.” The woman said of Rep. Lang, “I was harassed. I was intimidated. I was humiliated.”
As the chief sponsor of ERA in Illinois, Rep. Lang denies the accusations, but he sure resigned his powerful position awfully quickly.
Phyllis Schlafly might find this turn of events amusing from above.
Despite all of this, the ERA's passage may eventually face insurmountable odds in being officially added to the US Constitution.