House resolution said ND's approval of the ERA expired in 1979

Mar 6, 2019

The House has passed a resolution declaring that the state’s ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment is now invalid – because the time for the amendment’s approval set by Congress has expired.

North Dakota lawmakers voted to approve the amendment in 1975. The amendment was approved by 35 states, but fell three states short.

The House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee voted 12 to 2 to give it a “do pass.”

Rep. Austen Schauer (R-West Fargo) told his House colleagues a group called “Feminist Majority” claims that because the original vote on the amendment did not include the amendment’s preamble, the ERA could still be ratified. Schauer said that group goes well beyond the original intent of the ERA.

"The movement supports expanding abortion rights, overturning abortion restrictions, redefining gender, flipping state Legislatures from red to blue, and electing feminist candidates," Schauer said. "A majority of our committee does not support these values and the politics behind them."

Rep. Gretchen Dobervich (D-Fargo) argued the ERA was first proposed in the early 1900s, and women have been awaiting its passage since that time.

"If the ERA deadline expired, we lose nothing if we just let it go," Dobervich said. "If the ERA is reintroduced, and we are to remain one of the states who ratified it, we have nothing to lose, and women have full equity here."

The resolution passed 67 to 21. It will now be considered in the Senate.