Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) is the co-sponsor of a move to extend the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
All eleven Democrats in the New Jersey House delegation are supporting the effort.
Congress approved the ERA in 1972, but ratification fell three states short even after an extension to 1982. Two more states have since ratified the amendment, and with the Virginia lower house in play this year, there is a drive to grant another extension.
Renewed interest in the ERA came when Nevada ratified it anyway in 2017 and Illinois in 2018. Since the Virginia Senate has already voted to ratify. Should Democrats win control of Virginia’s lower house this fall – it’s currently a 51-49 Republican majority – it’s possible to see the amendment ratified, if Congress extends the deadline.
In February of this year, a ratification vote by the Virginia House of Delegates deadlocked 50-50.
It’s not immediately clear if such an extension would hold up to legal challenges.
When the U.S. House of Representatives approved the ERA in 1971 by a 324-24 vote, the only New Jersey congressman to vote against it was Rep. Charles Sandman (R-Cape May Court House).
Sandman preceded Van Drew as both a State Senator from Cape May County and as the congressman from New Jersey’s 2nd district.