2023 was the centennial anniversary of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and it proved to be a historic year for equality as support for the ERA spread quickly in Congress and amongst the public. The ERA simply but powerfully affirms that:
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or by any state on account of sex.”
It is a basic human rights reform that has met all constitutional requirements to become the 28th Amendment, but has not yet been certified and published by the U.S. Archivist. Last year, we at the #Faith4ERA campaign joined advocates across the nation in mobilizing to get the ERA across the finish line for good.
Read on to learn more about this historic year and how the #Faith4ERA campaign helped advance equal rights in 2023!
On the 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the #Faith4ERA campaign joined the Women’s March in DC. As one of the few religiously-affiliated groups participating in the event, we were interviewed by NBC4 News to offer a unique faith perspective on gender equality and reproductive rights.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley kicked off the year by introducing House Joint Resolution 25, which recognizes the ERA as “valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution” now that it has been ratified by 38 states.
The Senate Judiciary Committee convened a hearing on the ERA for the first time in 40 years to consider legislation that recognizes the ERA as a valid part of the U.S. Constitution and removes the arbitrary time limit on its ratification.
Ahead of the hearing, the #Faith4ERA campaign submitted written testimony to the committee voicing religious support for the ERA and emphasizing the urgency of recognizing the ERA as the valid 28th Amendment.
As we marked Women’s History Month, #Faith4ERA leader Allyson McKinney Timm spoke on the A World of Difference Podcast about the ERA and how the U.S. is lagging behind in protecting women’s inherent human rights.
The #Faith4ERA campaign also joined advocates for a press event on Capitol Hill to celebrate the launch of the first-ever ERA Caucus in Congress, led by Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Cori Bush. Following the announcement, we marched alongside student activists from Generation Ratify and shutdown Constitution Ave in DC to demand immediate action on the ERA.
Allyson McKinney Timm penned articles in Sojourners and Religion News Service, making a powerful case of legal and faith-based support of the ERA. At Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, she taught an educational class on the ERA and preached a compelling sermon on the need for equal rights under the law.
The month closed with a bipartisan majority of Senators voting “yes” on SJ Res 4 to recognize the ERA as the 28th Amendment. Although the ERA did not attain the 60 votes needed to advance further, the message was still clear: a majority of Senators, along with the majority of Americans, believe firmly in equal rights for all citizens.
Marena Groll came onboard to lead the first-ever #Faith4ERA state pilot program in North Carolina! An experienced grassroots activist and community organizer, Marena has been tapping into her local church networks to grow and mobilize faith support for the ERA in NC.
To mark Pride Month, the #Faith4ERA campaign spoke up online about the growing attacks on the dignity and rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. We raised awareness about the increasing number of anti-LGBT state laws, educated our community about how the ERA and Equality Act can advance protections for LGBTQIA+ Americans, and mobilized advocacy.
The #Faith4ERA campaign joined hundreds of fellow advocates at the ERA Centennial Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. This historic intergenerational gathering took place at the First Presbyterian Church of Seneca Falls, where Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party first unveiled the ERA in 1923.
Together, we marked 100 years of struggle for the ERA and developed new strategies and alliances to continue the fight. As one of the few faith groups present, we were honored to co-host a moving interfaith spiritual gathering and a faith-organizing workshop for convention attendees.
Back in DC, Rep. Cori Bush and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the groundbreaking ERA Now Resolution, which recognizes the ERA as valid and enforceable as the 28th Amendment and instructs the U.S. Archivist to certify and publish it without delay. Allyson McKinney Timm also returned to the pulpit, preaching on equality at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD.
The #Faith4ERA campaign’s Interfaith Statement of Support for the ERA surpassed 600 signatures! Leaders from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and other religious traditions are continuing to come together to proclaim unequivocal support for constitutional equality.
September also saw the historic swearing in of Dr. Colleen Shogan as the new U.S. Archivist, the first woman to hold the role. The U.S. Archivist is responsible for publishing new amendments and ensuring that they have fulfilled the requirements set forth in Article V of the Constitution—including the ERA.
Check out our ERA FAQs to learn more about the current status of the ERA and how it relates to the Archivist.
The #Faith4ERA campaign partnered with the North Carolina Council of Churches to develop a unique Advent guide focused on gender justice. A Journey Towards Justice for Women and the LGBTQ+ Community highlighted the voices of women and LGBTQ+ individuals and provided opportunities for faith communities to reflect, pray, and take action for equality during the 2023 Advent season.
We rallied with fellow advocates outside the Supreme Court as oral arguments were heard in the case of U.S. v Rahimi, a case which will determine whether or not domestic abusers will retain the constitutional right to own guns. This case also underscores how vital it is that women’s rights are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution through the ERA. In an OpEd in Baptist News Global, Allyson McKinney Timm and Christian ethicist David P. Gushee explore what’s at stake for human rights, women’s rights, and the right to life in this case.
In North Carolina, #Faith4ERA organizer Marena Groll attended the National Organization for Women (NOW) Conference in Raleigh. It was an energizing time of building relationships, strategizing for the ERA, and growing awareness about the #Faith4ERA movement.
December 13, 2023, marked the 100th anniversary of the ERA’s first introduction to the U.S. House of Representatives. Advocates rallied in DC to demand that not one more year pass without the ERA being recognized as a valid part of the U.S. Constitution.
2023 was a pivotal year for the movement for constitutional equality, but we know this work remains far from over. The rights of women and LGBTQIA+ Americans continue to be under attack, underscoring the urgent need for the equal rights and protections that the ERA would provide.
At the #Faith4ERA movement, we resolve to continue the momentum we helped build last year into 2024 and beyond—until the ERA is finally enshrined into our constitution once and for all. In the challenging moments, we remain encouraged and hopeful thanks to the empowering words of Paul to the Galatians: “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Learn more about the ERA today, consider how you can join this faith-inspired movement for gender justice and equal rights, and take further action through the ERA Coalition’s “Not One More Year” campaign.