Republican Lawmaker Joins Renewed Push For Equal Rights Amendment

Republican Rep. Tom Reed of New York (center) is the sole GOP lawmaker to support the Equal Rights Amendment.Screengrab/Tom Reed/YouTube

Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) is joining renewed efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which has been stalled since 1972.

Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) is teaming up with women activists to push for a constitutional Equal Rights Amendment, according to Buffalo News.

At the Capitol Hill news conference this week, Reed was the only man and the only Republican to speak about relaunching the fight for the amendment. In 1972, the amendment passed in Congress, but failed when only 35 states ratified it, instead of the required 38 before the deadline in 1982.

A House resolution introduced this week would remove that deadline. Reed said that he would happily try to convince fellow Republicans to back the resolution.

"It is time for us in the U.S. Constitution to pass on to our sons and daughters the message that all people are created equal, that all women are created equal," Reed said.

Reed said that his interest in the amendment rose after he visited Seneca Falls last year, the birthplace of the American women’s right movement. Seneca Falls is in Reed’s district.

A Manhattan Democrat, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, accompanied him during the trip and asked him to co-sponsor the bill.

"I just said: 'I'm totally on board with this – whatever you need from me,' " Reed said.

Reed says that it is important for women’s rights to be enshrined specifically in the constitution, if only to send a strong message against discrimination.

Reed also explained that he had 8 sisters and a single mother who raised the whole family alone after the death of Reed’s father.

"The strongest woman was my single mother, Betty Barr Reed, who taught me the power of women, the power and strength that women possess uniquely in America and across the world," Reed said. "And so I am humbled to stand on her shoulders."

Actress Patricia Arquette also spoke for the Equal Rights Amendment at the news conference: “Since the inception of our country women were left out of the Constitution – intentionally and for the ensuing centuries women in America have been fighting for their full equal rights in the American Constitution," Arquette said. "We have waited long enough."

Prospects for the amendment are good in the Democrat-controlled house. Its prospects in the Senate are less clear.