SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Another push for the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified was heard Tuesday on Utah’s Capitol Hill. Surrounded by over a hundred people, Representative Karen Kwan (D-Murray), introduced a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
“I’m so happy to see so many of you here today supporting what will truly be a vital and important part of Utah’s history,” Kwan said to the crowd gathered inside the rotunda.
The United States Constitution currently reads ‘equality shall not be denied on account of sex.’ Utah’s Constitution has different language and guarantees equal rights for both ‘male and female citizens.’ If Utah is the 38th state to ratify the ERA, it would apply to every state.
Those opposed to the resolution also gathered at the Capitol.
“I’m all for women’s rights. I’m a feminist,” explained Carolina Sagebin, Founder and CEO of Big Ocean Women. “Me and my organization serve a lot of vulnerable women around the world so we’re very invested in this. And the idea that we’re just backwards people that don’t want rights for women is completely false. What we do want to see is something more robust.”
Opponents say the ERA would overturn legal considerations for women, such as, but not limited to, not allowing for separate bathrooms or prisons.
“The ERA means the eradication of women. It means the erasure of women,” Sagebin said.
“It is a message. It’s not going to change any laws in Utah because we’ve already had it for 125 years guaranteed in our state Constitution,” Rep. Kwan explained.
Utah is the worst state in the country when it comes to women’s equality, according to a recent study released by Wallet Hub. Retired Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham says that’s even more of a reason to pass this resolution.
“Utah needs to affirm that it cares about women and that it’s doing everything it can to get rid of that reputation and get rid of the numbers that say we are not as strong as other states that support women’s rights.”
Durham is calling on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to support the resolution.
“This is not a partisan issue. Women are republicans, women are democrats, women are independents.”
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