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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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Yes, Texas ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) on March 30th, 1972.

What is the ERA?

The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The proposed Amendment stated:

Section 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.

Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3: This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Did it pass?

Ultimately, no. The Amendment would have need to be ratified by at least 38 states before the 1982 deadline to be added to the Constitution. However, only 35 states ratified the Amendment by 1982.

The Amendment passed both chambers of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification in March of 1972. Texas ratified the ERA on March 30th, 1972. The Texas session law that ratified and adopted the proposed constitutional amendment is in Acts 1972, 62nd 2nd C.S., SCR 1.

In recent years, two states ratified the ERA. Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the amendment in 2017, and Illinois joined them in 2018.

The Texas ERA

Texas added an equal rights amendment to its own constitution in November of 1972. The Texas Equal Rights Amendment states:

Sec. 3a. EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. This amendment is self-operative. (Added Nov. 7, 1972.)

The Texas State Historical Association has an article about the amendment's history on their website.

The University of Texas School of Law also has an article with more information about Frances Tarlton "Sissy" Farenthold, who was a key figure in passing the Texas ERA.

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