It's back

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 31, 2003 at 9:39 p.m.
No, it's not a rerun of "That '70s Show." The ERA is back again.
For those who came in late, the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution came up three states short of ratification in the 1970s, with Florida being one of the states in opposition.
The idea was to guarantee that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged ... on account of sex."
Opponents said it could lead to women in combat and unisex bathrooms. Nearly three decades later, in the midst of a war in which women have a greater role than ever before, such concerns seem almost quaint.
So ERA proponents are trying again in Tallahassee. Not a single Florida legislator who voted on the issue in the 1970s remains in office, and some who rejected it then say they regret it.
How the current Legislature might vote is anybody's guess, since it wasn't an issue in anybody's campaign.
Florida already has its own version of the ERA in the state constitution, and passage of the federal amendment would have largely symbolic value. So it's hard to see why any current legislator would oppose it.
Then again, it's hard to understand why legislators do many things.

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