St. Louis Public Radio News
11:56 am
Wed May 21, 2003

Illinois House Approves Equal Rights Amendment

Springfield, ILl –

The Illinois House Wednesday approved the Equal Rights Amendment, reviving an issue that split the state 20 years ago.

The amendment to the US Constitution passed 76-to-41. It now goes to the state Senate.

If it passes there, Illinois would join 35 other states that have ratified the amendment over the years. Supporters say approval by two more states would then make the amendment official.

But critics say the deadline for approval expired long ago. They argue it would be meaningless for states to pass it now.

The amendment failed in Illinois 20 years ago amid bitter debate.

Critics say the amendment would go far beyond simply promising women equal rights. They predict it might require legalization of same-sex marriage or state funding of abortion.

Supporters dismiss such predictions as scare tactics.

You can hear a story from Illinois Public Radio's Bill Wheelhouse by clicking on the 'listen' icon above.