SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The DFL majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives today passed House File 13, which is designed to end legal distinctions between men and women and guarantee equal legal rights for all citizens regardless of gender. The Republican-led state Senate has not scheduled a committee hearing for the companion bill.
“Minnesota believes in equality,” said Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-Saint Paul, the author of a similar bill in the Senate. “Women have waited far too long to be seen as equal in the eyes of the law and this bill is finally a step in that direction. We’ve been working on passing a Minnesota ERA bill for years and it’s heartening to see it succeed in the Minnesota House this year. I wish we could see the same kind of progress for women on the Senate side of the Capitol.”
The federal Equal Rights Amendment was originally written in 1923 and finally passed by Congress in 1972. Minnesota ratified the ERA one year later in 1973. After nearly 100 years, the ERA bill passed in the House today could finally ensure fair treatment for women by courts, employers, and state and local governments.
“Every Minnesotan should have full equality under our Constitution,” said Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-Saint Paul, the author of the companion to HF13. “We cannot simply assume equality exists because we want it to exist. Discrimination based on gender should be scrutinized and eradicated, and this bill would allow just that.”
Minnesota has the only divided legislature in the United States. While the DFL-led House made official their support for equal rights, the Republican-led Senate has denied public hearings for the ERA, paid family leave, and increasing access to reproductive health care.