List of Pros and Cons of Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed to Congress in 1923 and subsequently rejected. 38 states need to approve the amendment in order for it to become law. In 1979, 35 states approved it. Activists are still at work to make gender equality a law. At first glance, this may seem like an obviously good thing. Even in this situation, however, there are cons as well as pros.

List of Pros of the Equal Rights Amendment

1. Protected Rights
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) protects the rights of all citizens of the United States equally. This gives all citizens equal legal standing.

2. Unfair Laws Abolished
If the ERA is passed, it automatically abolishes are previously existing laws that enable and support discrimination. This would also prevent people from using past laws and rulings as precedents to defend their own prejudicial behavior.

3. Clarification
The ERA clearly spells out guidelines for nondiscrimination. These provides a clear standard for any court proceedings that have to rule on whether an action is considered discriminatory or not.

4. Protects Laws
There is currently nothing stopping Congress for repealing or weakening laws that were passed to support equal rights. The ERA protects laws that are already in place and prevents Congress from moving the cause of equality backwards.

5. Measurable Standards
Because it is impossible to prove a negative, people currently have a very hard time proving that they are not discriminating against others. The ERA provides measurable standards which can be used to show that an employer is not in violation of discrimination laws.

List of Cons of the Equal Rights Amendment

1. Loopholes
As with any legal document, there is a lot of jargon and double talk in the Equal Rights Amendment. This can be used to find loopholes in the amendment that prevent people from complying with the spirit of the law.

2. States’ Rights
The ERA sets jurisprudence for discrimination and puts it in federal courts. Some people argue that this is a violation of states’ rights. The struggle between federal and state laws has been an ongoing balancing act since the formation of the United States.

3. Military Draft
The goal of the ERA is to put all people on an equal footing. Because it rules that there can be no differentiation between men and women, women would be expected to provide the same military service as men. Amendments have been proposed that would continue to exclude women from conscription and active combat duty, but they have been rejected.

4. Religious Organizations
There are many religious organizations that recognize a clear distinction between men and women and the roles that they are allowed to fill. Religious schools that are affiliated with organizations that do not treat men and women the same, for instance, church denominations that do not ordain women, would lose their tax-exempt status under the ERA.