Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
This proposed amendment to the United States Constitution, which was passed by both houses of Congress in 1972, needed ratification by 38 states to become a Constitutional amendment. Only 35 did so; in 1982, time ran out, and it was declared to be defeated. Opponents had made many spurious but emotionally effective claims: e.g., that it would legalize homosexual marriages, outlaw the paying of alimony and child support, extend the military draft and active combat duty to women, and outlaw sex-segregated rest rooms. A constitutional amendment to establish equal rights for women in the United States had first been introduced in 1923.