Nevada may become the 36th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
On March 1, the Nevada State Senate passed the ERA resolution and on Monday the amendment passed in the State Assembly, 28-14. The resolution needs to go back to the Senate because a technical amendment was added, though this shouldn’t stop it from passing, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Though the amendment does not need to be approved by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval, he said he was in favor of it passing.
“It’s a big day to see this happen. A lot of us have waited a very long time,” Marlene Lockhard, a lobbyist with the Nevada Women’s Lobby, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman (D) added that she felt triumphant after years of attempting to get the ERA ratified. “We did it. It was overwhelming, but we did it. It shows that it’s never too late to support equality,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Nevada’s ratification is especially significant because it’s the first state to do so since Indiana in 1977.
On March 22, 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment but not enough states ratified the amendment for it to become part of the Constitution. For an amendment to become part of the Constitution, 38 of the 50 states need to ratify it. Nevada would bring us to 36 states. If two more states were to ratify the ERA at this point, Congress would still need to extend or waive the 1982 deadline it set.
“Now it’s a two-state strategy,” Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), told the LA Times. “It’s very exciting. Over the past five years, Illinois and Virginia have come close. I think there is clear interest in this.”
According to Nevada Appeal, Republican Assemblywoman Robin Titus was opposed to the ratification. “I don’t believe my constituents sent me to cast symbolic votes with no chance of success,” she said.
Maggie Carlton, a Democratic assemblywoman, had the perfect response to Titus as she argued for the resolution. “I vote for this for today in honor of my mother, my grandmother and my two daughters,” Carlton said, according to the LA Times. “Symbolism or not, it’s time to send the message.”
The state Senate is set to vote on the amendment on March 22, the 45th anniversary of the ERA passing in Congress.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Indiana ratified the ERA in 1982. Indiana ratified the ERA in 1977.
This article has also been updated to note the additional steps Congress would need to take to adopt the ERA.