CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Applause and hugs all around as the Nevada Senate nearly unanimously passes the Equal Rights Amendment.
The move makes Nevada the 36th state of 38 needed to ratify the U.S Constitution after the Nevada Assembly passed the resolution earlier in the week.
Back in 1982 supporters of the ERA gathered outside the legislature to mourn the deadline of the ERA. The Silver State didn't pass the ERA, and at the time many believed the amendment's time had passed.
But Nevada Senator Pat Spearman from Clark County believes both women and men have awakened.
With marches in January in Reno, where 10,000 gathered downtown and millions nationwide demanding equal rights, the senator believes now is the time for the ERA.
“We've given a new definition to 45. A more positive one. Because this is 45 years; March 22, 1972 is the first time congress voted on the ERA. And so today, when we say 45 it has a whole new meaning. It means on this day, what Nevada has done, is we have solidified our commitment to equality,” says Senator Spearman
Senator Spearman helped spearhead efforts this year to get the ERA ratified in both houses. It does not need the governor’s signature.
Opponents of the measure believe it will translate into more abortions and women in combat.
One advocate says times have changed since 1972.
“And another fear is that women would be in the military. But Senator Spearman, who put forward this bill, was in the Pentagon, so most of the fears are outdated,” says Helene Swanson, an ERA advocate.
Nevada is part of what the ERA advocates call the three-state strategy.
Only three states are needed to get the required three quarter of the states to ratify the constitution.
They now have their eyes set on Illinois and Virginia.
Then the tougher works begins, convincing Congress to get rid of the ERA deadline it set in 1982.