State Rep. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach (Pic by Meredith Geddings, via myfloridahouse.gov)

Women’s rights advocates in the state Legislature — who spent much of this past session railing against efforts by their GOP counterparts to curb reproductive rights in the state — are hoping to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida, once and for all.

Thirty years ago, time expired for the adoption of a federal law that would ban the federal government and any state from enforcing laws that “abridge” rights on the basis of gender. The 1972 law fell three states short of adoption at the federal level. Florida was among the states that did not ratify the law on time.

The Tallahasee Democrat reports that there is now an opportunity to take another stab at it. State Rep. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, and state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, have introduced legislation that would ratify the “proposed amendment to U.S. Constitution relating to equal rights for men and women”:

Berman, an attorney, said there is a bill pending in Congress to recognize ratification of the amendment if three more states vote for the ERA. She and Rich said they were not deterred by expiration of the deadline nearly 30 years ago.

Rich said many issues have taken decades to be recognized by the Legislature. Passing mandatory seatbelt laws was debated for about 20 years, she said.

“Hopefully, we can get a hearing,” she said. “Let’s just get an up-or-down vote on it.”

In a statement, Berman said:

The Equal Rights Amendment will offer formal protection to a woman’s right to equality. I have always been a strong advocate and proponent for women’s rights in all arenas, but this is an inherent part of being an American. The foremost duty of our government is to protect those inalienable rights. I am proud to carry the torch on this bill again.

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