Senator Floyd McKissick Jr. has been a strong and consistent ally in the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). He has sponsored the Ratify ERA Bill in the Senate 4 times – 2015, 2017, 2019, and an extra one in 2018 after Illinois became the 37th state to ratify ERA on 5/30/18. He has never wavered in his support, which continues to this day. Senator McKissick even dressed in white with us. This is his speech at the ERA Bill Filing Day press conference on 3/5/19.
Today, I participated in a news conference in support of the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) by the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA). I’d like to thank Marena Groll, Robbie Madden, and Gailya Paliga for their vocal advocacy on behalf of the ERA. It has been 99 years since women obtained the right to vote in our country when the 19th amendment was ratified to our constitution. It has been 47 years since Congress sent the ERA to the states for ratification. However, we’re still fighting the battle to get it ratified today.
Four years ago, today, March 5th, 2015, I introduced a bill (Senate Bill 184) in support of the ratification of the ERA in the NC Senate. Today, March 5th, 2019, I reintroduced the ERA for ratification, and I intend to continue to reintroduce this bill until it has passed here in NC. We must capitalize upon the momentum that this amendment has received since it was passed by the State of Nevada in 2017 and then by Illinois in 2018. We only need one more state to ratify the ERA before it can become the law of the land and guarantee women equal rights.
Regardless of whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, we should all be able to collaborate together to stand in support of the ERA. It is self-evident that, regardless of whether you’re male or female, you should be entitled to equal rights in our country. Without an ERA, our state government has no legal duty to treat male and female employees equally or to pay comparable pay for comparable jobs. We all know that women make 78 cents on a dollar for what men earn for similar jobs. Today, more single women are heads of households than ever before, and they deserve equal rights and equal pay. Today, Carol Jenkins, Co-President of the National ERA Coalition, Bettina Hagar, the DC Director of the National ERA Coalition, and Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, all joined us here in NC in support of ERA.
I’d like to thank Rep. Carla Cunningham who has been a champion and primary sponsor for this bill in the NC house as well as Senator Erica Smith and Senator Terry Van Duyn who also served as primary co-sponsors of my bill, Senate Bill 184. Hopefully, we can work together to see that the Equal Rights Amendment is passed here in NC to guarantee rights and equality for women everywhere in our country.