Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL-Saint Paul) made a motion on the Senate floor today to bring a bill to the floor that would put the question of whether the Minnesota Constitution should be amended to include the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) before Minnesota voters via ballot measure in the fall. The motion was voted down by the Republican majority.
“Women have waited for far too long,” said Senator Pappas. “If passed, this motion would have put the issue before Minnesota voters on the ballot in the fall so they could decide whether they wanted to add the ERA to the Minnesota Constitution. Unfortunately nearly every member of the Republican majority voted to block the motion and deny members of the Senate the opportunity to debate the ERA on its merits. The people of Minnesota believe in equal rights and they should have the opportunity to make their voices heard on this proposal through a ballot measure.”
“Adding an equal rights amendment to our state’s constitution would be rather simple and the right thing to do,” said Senator Mary Kunesh (DFL-New Brighton). “Equality under the law is all that we are asking for – since the 1970s. Both women and men are still discriminated against based on their gender. It’s time we brought this to a ballot for Minnesotans to vote on and for the Senate majority to support that effort. Today, however, showed Minnesota that they do not support equality under the law. What a shame.”
“While we do have a number of protections based on sex in our law, we do not have an equal rights amendment which would form the basis for protections based on sex under the law in our Constitution,” saidSenator Jen McEwen (DFL-Duluth). “We have a long history of women having to overcome stereotypes that have been placed in the law, both statutory and common law, and this inequality will remain until we step up and pass the Equal Rights Amendment in our state. Minnesotans deserve this protection under the law, and it’s inexcusable for Senate Republicans to once again block this bill.”