Equal Rights Amendment Halts In The Arizona Senate, Again

By Lauren Gilger, Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 9:03am
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 2:49pm

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Equal Rights Amendment activists
Kim Mundis
Equal Rights Amendment activists march in Phoenix on March 12, 2019.

For the third year in a row, a vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the Arizona state Legislature failed.

And for the third year in a row, it failed because a move to allow an unscheduled floor vote was blocked, though this year it did play out differently.

In 2017 and 2018, when lawmakers asked for an immediate vote, the House responded by an abrupt adjournment. But this year, the procedural move was not ignored. It was, however, blocked in the end by a slim margin in the Senate.

It came down yesterday to a 16-13 “no” vote. Included in the “nos” were three Republicans who actually co-sponsored the ERA resolution, but then walked away from it.    

The exercise provided impassioned debate from both sides. One of the talking points: what happens when the government determines “sex?” This was the core of Sen. Sylvia Allen’s argument.

"The Equal Rights Amendment does not say anything about women. It puts 'sex' in the Constitution. And 'sex' has a lot of different definitions today than it did in 1970s. Any rights for women would be gone,” Allen said.

Sen. Rebecca Rios, one of several co-sponsors of the bill, pushed back.

"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. That's it. That is the intent of this. This isn't about abortion. This isn't about transgender kids playing on a softball team. These are red herrings," Rios said.

Senators Sonny Borrelli and Victoria Steele also sparred over the ERA’s affect on a working woman’s bottom line. Steele was yet another co-sponsor of the resolution.

Dustin Gardiner, state politics reporter for the Arizona Republic, followed the vote yesterday and walked The Show through some of the back-and-forth moves he witnessed.

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