04052018CM0141SPRINGFIELD – Currently, there is no federal constitutional provision that expressly guarantees equal rights to women and men. Today, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted to change that.

Bennett co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 4 (SJRCA 4), which would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution. It would shield the guarantee in the Constitution that a woman’s rights are equal to a man’s and shall not be denied or abridged.

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this monumental legislation,” Bennett said. “Ratifying the ERA isn’t merely symbolic or only a woman’s issue. This is a necessary measure for Illinois to take to guarantee equality under the law for both men and women.”

Congress first sent the amendment to the states for ratification in 1972. By 1975, 35 of the 38 states needed to ratify a constitutional amendment had passed it through their own legislatures, but Illinois had not.

Currently, Illinois has an Equal Rights Amendment in its state constitution that provides equal protection under the law to both men and women, which cannot be denied by the state, local government or school districts. However, this effort would support the federal constitutional amendment.

“It’s time for Illinois to lead again,” Bennett said. “Given the climate of our country today, we have a very important opportunity to show the rest of the nation that we live in a state where we value and protect equal rights.”

SJRCA 4 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

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