Equal Rights Amendment discharge petition, June 11, 1970
Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan filed a discharge petition to force the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) out of the Judiciary Committee for a vote by the full House. Rarely used, discharge petitions require signatures by a majority of representatives. Griffiths obtained the necessary support to move the ERA forward.
Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration.
Equal Rights for Women
After the Nineteenth Amendment secured women’s voting rights in 1920, suffragist Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to guarantee women’s full legal equality. Introduced in every Congress from 1923 to 1972, the ERA was repeatedly stymied in committee. Its opponents feared loss of special protections for women and resisted increasing federal authority. In 1970 Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan got the ERA discharged from committee. Slightly revised, the amendment passed both houses in 1972 but failed ratification by the required number of states and was never adopted.