June 30, 2012, marks the 30th anniversary of the final death of the federal Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment to ensure, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex" (ERA, Section 1). The amendment was originally proposed by Alice Paul in 1923, but didn't get serious legislative consideration until the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Tennessee was one of five states to initially ratify the Amendment, then later rescind the ratification. On this momentous anniversary, it's time we as a nation--at the very least, the state of Tennessee--seriously reignite the discussion about constitutionally guaranteed equality that knows no gender boundaries.
Tennessee could set a shining example for the rest of the conservative southeast and indeed the nation as a whole were it to add an Equal Rights Amendment to its constitution. Twenty-one states have already done so; it's time for Tennessee, the home of such great cosmopolitan cities as Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville, to restart the charge for equality.