‘Equal Rights Amendment’ headed to House floor Monday

Republicans say the bill has not received a full vetting in House committees.

House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth and a group of Republican legislators address a huge crowd Wednesday that gathered in the Capitol rotunda to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment. (Alpha News)

controversial “Equal Rights Amendment” bill is headed to a floor vote in the Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday.

DFL legislative leaders in the House Rules Committee on Thursday voted to place SF37 on the May 13 Calendar for the Day, the last procedural step before bills receive a vote before the full chamber.

That came despite protest from Republicans who said the proposal needs at least one more full committee hearing before it should be sent to the floor.

“As we heard in the Rules Committee the last time we met, we found this constitutional amendment proposal would actually create a private right of action, and (because of that) it did not go through the proper committees,” said Rep. Marion Rarick, R-Maple Lake, who made a motion to return the bill to the committee hearing process.

“We’ve also added additional language that didn’t appear in the senate file itself” that needs to be vetted by a committee, Rarick continued.

House Majority Leader Jamie Long, DFL-Minneapolis, who chairs the House Rules Committee, offered no rationale for his opposition to Rarick’s motion. Democrats defeated the motion on a party-line vote.

That came following a rally that opponents of the bill held Wednesday at the Capitol, where they said the proposal would place a ballot question before voters that contains deceptive language intended to cloak an unlimited right to abortion up to birth.

The proposed amendment also contains language related to “gender identity or expression” that critics say “displaces and erases women,” “putting programs and opportunities that give women special treatment in legal jeopardy.”

The proposed ballot question that voters would see in 2026 states:

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to say that all persons shall be guaranteed equal rights under the laws of this state, and shall not be discriminated against on account of race, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, or sex, including pregnancy, gender, and sexual orientation?”

If approved by voters, the following is the language that would be added to the Minnesota Constitution:

“All persons shall be guaranteed equal rights under the laws of this state. The state shall not discriminate against any person in intent or effect on account of one or more of the following: (a) race; (b) color; (c) national origin; (d) ancestry; (e) disability; or (f) sex, including but not limited to: (i) making and effectuating decisions about all matters relating to one’s own pregnancy or decision whether to become or remain pregnant; (ii) gender identity or gender expression; or (iii) sexual orientation.”

Opponents of the bill include many religious organizations who say the proposed constitutional amendment contains no reference to “religion” or “creed,” and that, as such, religious liberties could be forced to take a backseat to other interests should the amendment be placed in the constitution.

Also placed on the House Calendar for the Day on Monday is a ranked-choice voting proposal that has not received support from any House or Senate Republicans.

 

Hank Long

Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.