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36 Rutgers L.J. 1201 (2004-2005)
State Equal Rights Amendments Revisited: Evaluating Their Effectiveness in Advancing Protection against Sex Discrimination

handle is hein.journals/rutlj36 and id is 1215 raw text is: STATE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENTS REVISITED:
Linda J. Wharton*
Three decades have passed since fourteen states-inspired by the Federal
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) campaign of the 1970s and early
1980s-added ERAs to their state constitutions.' In adding these provisions
to their constitutions, these states joined three others that already had explicit
protection from sex discrimination in their state constitutions.2 The language
of many of these amendments tracked that of the proposed Federal ERA, and
their legislative histories indicate a specific desire to provide more
comprehensive protection against sex discrimination than that available
*   Associate Professor of Political Science, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey;
Lecturer-in-Law, University of Pennsylvania School of Law (1996-2002); J.D. Rutgers
University School of Law-Camden (1981). Many of the ideas in this Article grew out of my
past work as the Managing Attorney of the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, where I served as lead counsel or co-counsel in litigation challenging sex
discrimination under both the Federal Constitution and Pennsylvania's Equal Rights
Amendment. This litigation included several cases in the area of reproductive rights, including
Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992). 1 am deeply grateful for the excellent
feedback on drafts of this Article that I received from Pamela Elam, Ann Freedman, Susan
Frietsche, Seth Kreimer, Molly Murphy MacGregor and Robert F. Williams. Many thanks
also to Debra Franzese for her excellent research assistance and to both my colleagues at
Richard Stockton College and my family for their encouragement and support.
I. ALASKA CONST. art 1, § 3; COLO. CONST. art. II, § 29; CONN. CONST. art. I, § 20;
HAW. CONST. art. I, § 21; ILL. CONST. art. I, § 18; MD. CONST. art. I, § 3; MASS. CONST. Pt. I,
art. 1; MONT. CONST. art. II, § 4; N.H. CONST. pt. I, art. 2; N.M. CONST. art. II, § I; PA. CONST.
art. I, § 28 ; TEX. CONST. art. I, § 3a; VA. CONST. art. I, § 11; WASH. CONST. art. XXXI, § 1.
For the full text and date of adoption of each state ERA, see infra Appendix.
2. Two states-Wyoming and Utah-added sex equality guarantees to their
constitutions at the same time that they extended the right of suffrage to women in the late
nineteenth century. UTAH CONST., art. IV, § I; WYO. CONST. art. I, § 2. California added a
provision to its constitution that expressly prohibited sex discrimination in employment in
1879. CAL. CONST. art. I, § 8. Some states also explicitly provide protection against sex
discrimination in public education in their constitutions. CAL. CONST. art. I, § 31(a); HAW.
CONST. art. X, § 1; WYo. CONST. art. VII, § 10; MONT. CONST. art. 10 § 7.

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