BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana lawmakers are debating whether to ratify the long-stalled Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a proposal that has taken its first legislative step.
The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 4-3 Wednesday for the proposal to enact a constitutional provision outlawing discrimination based on gender.
The measure seems a long shot for passage in the majority GOP Legislature. Committee Democrats voted for ratification and Republicans opposed it. The legislation by Sen. J.P. Morrell, a New Orleans Democrat, moves to the full Senate for debate.
Congress in 1972 approved the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. If Louisiana approved Morrell's legislation, it would become the 38th state to back the amendment, reaching the threshold needed for ratification.
Opponents say the deadline for approval was 1982.
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