Nevada has taken a crucial step closer to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment — roughly 35 years after a deadline imposed by Congress. The state's Assembly approved the long-dormant measure in a largely party-line vote on Monday, sending it back to the state Senate for a final blessing.
Earlier this month, state senators approved the ERA, which among other thingsguarantees that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Now they they are expected to sign off on the minor technical changes added to the resolution since it left their chamber.
It has been a long, twisty path for the ERA, which was first passed by Congress in 1972 and last approved by a state (Indiana) in 1977. Since then, the amendment has teetered just three states short of the threshold necessary to see it adopted into law nationwide — a threshold it failed to achieve by the time Congress' deadline came and went.
But for ERA supporters such as Democratic state Sen. Pat Spearman, that deadline is little more than a paper tiger.
"It was in the resolving clause, but it wasn't a part of the amendment that was proposed by Congress," she tells KNPR. "That's why the time limit is irrelevant."