On May 30, the Illinois General Assembly took a giant leap forward for women’s rights nationwide and ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. It took Illinois 46 years, but better late than never. Now we’re one state closer to seeing equal rights for women enshrined in the United States Constitution. With Nevada ratifying last year, Illinois is the 37th state to officially adopt the amendment. We now turn to Arizona, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida to see which state will become the 38th and final state required for ratification.
In Illinois, 43 state senators and 72 state representatives recognized the importance of protecting equal rights for woman, including local legislators Sen. Jason Barickman, Sen. Dave Koehler, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth and Rep. Dan Brady. Unfortunately, Reps. Keith Sommer, Thomas Bennett, Ryan Spain and Mike Unes, as well as Sens. Bill Brady and Chuck Weaver all voted against constitutional equality for women. What may be even more disturbing is that Bennett and Spain face no opposition at the ballot box this November.
As a constituent of Rep. Sommer, I feel fundamentally betrayed and insulted to learn that he doesn’t support the women of his district. Luckily, I will have a chance to repay him with a vote for Jill Blair this year. Those in Mike Unes’ district are also lucky enough to have a choice to vote for Carolyn Blodgett. In a 2016 poll, 94 percent of Americans said they would support an amendment to the Constitution that guarantees equal rights for both men and women. It is a travesty that these officials side with the 4 percent and against 163 million American women.
Kathryn Modisette, Washington, IL