Advocates for women's rights want the Oregon legislature to send a version of the Equal Rights Amendment to the state ballot. The measure is similar to the federal constitutional amendment that was approved by Congress in the early 70s. Not enough states ratified it so the amendment never took effect. Now, more than four dozen lawmakers have signed onto the idea of asking Oregon voters to approve a state version of the concept.
Republican representative Julie Parrish says it's past time to guarantee women equal rights.
"We grew up — women under 40 — grew up with this notion that we could do anything, we could be anything," Parrish says. "And I think to not have that memorialized in our constitution is a shame."
Supporters acknowledge the amendment would be mostly symbolic because court decisions have upheld equal rights for women. But backers of the effort say polls have shown a wide majority of Oregonians would support it if it went to the ballot.
Voters in Washington approved that state's version of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972.
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