Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Next 10 Amendments:Do we need an Equal Rights Amendment?

August 8, 2013 by NCC Staff


Do we need a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of all people, regardless of race, color, gender, disability or sexual orientation? Let us know what you think as part of our Next 10 Amendments project.

10 amendments logoThe Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, in theory, extends equal application of the law to many people. But the struggle for equal rights has continued through the start of the Civil Rights era, to the failed attempt to pass an Equal Rights Amendment for women, to the current fight over same-sex marriages.

Those rights, in theory, would extend to equal treatment in the workplace—if they are needed (since there are many federal regulations that prohibit discrimination).

As part of our Next 10 Amendments project, we’ve asked Constitution Daily readers to give us their opinions on possible new amendments. You can see other topics below, and people have made a lot of good points, in a civil way.

Links to Debates: Right To Bear Arms | Balanced Budget | Right To Privacy | Term Limits | Same-Sex Marriage | Church and State | Flag Burning | Electoral College | Campaign Finance

So do you think there are already enough laws on the books—and enough guidance from the Constitution—to ensure equal rights for all? Or do we need a constitutional amendment to end the debate?

Here’s how you can participate in our project:

1. Check out the resources in the sidebar at right to learn more about the historical context and current events related to this issue.

2. In the comments below, share your thoughts and explore what others are saying. (Please keep your comments respectful and on topic.)

3. Check back each week for the latest discussion topic.

4. In early September, cast your vote in a referendum on potential amendments, gathered from participant comments.

Our discussion is moderated by Chris Phillips, research fellow of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania and executive director of the nonprofit organization Democracy Café.

(Note to readers on Yahoo! News: If you want to take part in the debate, use this link and comment at the end of the story:


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