March 22 - 1972 - The Equal Rights Amendment is Passed by Congress
The Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in Congress consistently from the 1920s until the early 1970s, but it rarely got anywhere and was never near to becoming part of the United States Constitution. The ERA guaranteed equal rights under the law regardless of sex, which actually meant it created divisions among women's rights advocates as well as seeing opposition from conservatives. Yet by 1971, the Equal Rights Amendment got increasing support thanks to a renewed women's rights movement, and thanks to the efforts of Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan, the Amendment finally passed the House of Representatives by a wide margin in late 1971. Immediately, the Senate also passed the measure by a large margin in March 1972, and the Amendment looked like it would fly through state legislatures and be added to the Consitution. But then a strange thing happened. After half the states had ratified the amendment and more were about to, a movement grew to stop the ERA. Led by Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist, the movement was successful not only in stopping states from ratifying the amendment but also forced some states to rescind their ratification, dooming the Equal Rights Amendment.