State Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) was one of seven GOP senators backing the Equal Rights Amendment, which would ban female-specific accommodations, like women's bathrooms. | Youtube
The Illinois Senate has overwhelmingly offered its support of a constitutional amendment to end female-specific accommodations in life and law.
Eight Republicans joined 35 Democrats, 25 of whom were sponsors, to pass a resolution in favor of the “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA), 43-12. It promises to end legal, and any other, distinctions between men and women.
Among other things, ERA would make female-only bathrooms, prisons, schools, and shelters unconstitutional. It would also require women to serve in military combat roles and ban any public accommodation for pregnant women.
Many argue that ERA would also make any restriction on abortion, which is only performed on women, unconstitutional and require taxpayer funding of the procedure by way of Medicaid.
The Alton-based Eagle Forum, founded by housewife-turned-activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1972 specifically to oppose ERA, wrote that “the push for women’s rights has always been about providing equal opportunities for women, and removing any obstacles that prevent them from having equal opportunities."
“It was never about making women fit into the mold of men, or making women become men.”
Republicans supporting ERA who disagreed were State Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake), State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Pontiac), State Sen. Mike Connelly (R-Naperville), State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), State Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst), State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove), State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) and State Sen. Tom Rooney (R-Rolling Meadows).
Illinois didn't ratify
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first introduced in the U.S. Congress in 1923. It finally went to the states for ratification in 1972, but was defeated.
After seven years of trying, ERA had earned the support of 35 states, still three short of ratification.
Before ERA, no previous proposed amendment had ever taken even four years to earn three-fourths approval of the states.
Illinois was one of fifteen states that did not ratify ERA. Others were Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas, Arkansas, Mississippi and South Dakota.
The Illinois State Senate, then controlled by Democrats, voted 30-21 for ERA in May 1972 and the Illinois House voted for it, 113-62. But a three-fifths supermajority was required to pass it.