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ERA proposal passes in House, moves to Senate

ST. PAUL — A bill has passed in the Minnesota House of Representatives that proposes an Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution reading, “Equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender.”

During discussion on the House floor Thursday, some representatives expressed concern about the use of the word “gender” as opposed to “sex” in the proposed amendment. Three attempts to change that language failed when put to a vote.

Some also voiced concern that legal gender equality might enable abortions, and called for a provision that the amendment state that it is neutral on abortion. That motion also failed when put to a vote.

When roll was called, the amendment passed 72-55. District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, voted in opposition to the equal rights amendment. District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, voted in favor of it.

Next, the bill will go through the Minnesota Senate committee process.

If the Senate also votes in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, the question will be put to a vote by the public on the 2020 general election ballot.