NEW YORK, June 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the ERA Coalition/ Fund for Women's Equality released a poll finding near-universal support for amending the United States Constitution to include protections for women. The ERA is a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.
80% of those polled mistakenly believe that men and women are already guaranteed equal rights in the U.S. Constitution. As the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated: "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't."
94% of those polled said they would support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees equal rights for both men and women. This extraordinary level of support was expressed by both men and women - 90% of men and 96% of women polled. And when identified by political party, Democrats, Republicans and Independents all overwhelming support the amendment as well: 97% of Democrats, 90% of Republicans, and 92% of Independents.
"In research terms this is as close to unanimous as support could possibly be," says Dan Goldstein, CSO of db5 - the market research firm that conducted the poll, "there's nothing 94% of Americans agree on - except this issue it would seem." Jessica Neuwirth, President of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women's Equality, which is building a national network of organizations and activists working for the passage and ratification of the ERA, notes, "Our work on the ground confirms the findings of this poll: women and men around the country and across all party lines are ready—and eager—for the ERA."
Patricia Arquette, an activist for women's equality and committed ERA supporter, will testify in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at a DNC Platform Committee hearing, where she will urge the party to make the ERA a priority. "All of the things we want for women, including equal pay and effective legal recourse for gender-based violence, are in the ERA," Arquette says. "This polling shows the country is with us—we need Congress to catch up."
First introduced almost 100 years ago, in 1923, the ERA was passed by Congress in 1972: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. This amendment was sent to the states for ratification with a seven year deadline that was extended to ten years. By the expiration of the deadline in 1982, 35 states had ratified the amendment, just three states short of the 38 states needed to put the ERA in the Constitution. Since then, the ERA has been reintroduced in Congress every session. Congress has not once voted on it over the past thirty years.
Current efforts to put the ERA in the Constitution are being led in Congress by Rep Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-WY, and Jackie Speier, D-CA. "The ERA is the only way to eliminate the wage gap and ensure women are paid the same as men. It's that simple. Without the ERA, women's rights and equality are not guaranteed," says Rep. Maloney. "The ERA Coalition's poll shows that all Americans – regardless of gender, party or age – are united in their support for equality for women and men under the Constitution." Rep. Speier adds, "The poll shows what many of us have known all along - the American public supports the ERA and gender equality. Hopefully this will wake up Congress to this reality so we can finally pass the ERA."
Rep Bonnie Watson-Coleman, D-NJ, one of the conveners of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, has begun monthly Special Order sessions on the floor of Congress to gather support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Noting the broad base of support for the ERA indicated by the poll, she says, "It's time for a coalition of men and women, Democrats and Republicans, people of color and more to join together and support this amendment. I'm committed to seeing that happen - it's clear American opinion is on our side."
The dba5 poll was commissioned by enso, an agency creating social impact though mission-driven creativity, on behalf of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women's Equality. The poll was conducted in October 2015 using an online survey. Respondents were recruited through Critical Mix and accredited by True Sample to guarantee the quality of the survey's participants. A nationally representative sample of 1,017 people took part in the survey. The data was then weighted, to ensure that it was proportional to and representative of the population's political affiliation.
The ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women's Equality are sister organizations, founded in 2014 to work respectively for passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and for greater public understanding of the need for equal treatment of women under the law.