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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Advocates Push For Oregon Version Of Equal Rights Amendment

SALEM, Ore. – Advocates for women's rights want the Oregon legislature to send a version of the Equal Rights Amendment to the state ballot. The measure is similar to the federal constitutional amendment that was approved by Congress in the early 70s. Not enough states ratified it so the amendment never took effect. Now, more than four dozen lawmakers have signed onto the idea of asking Oregon voters to approve a state version of the concept.

Republican representative Julie Parrish says it's past time to guarantee women equal rights.

"We grew up — women under 40 — grew up with this notion that we could do anything, we could be anything.," she says. "And I think to not have that memorialized in our constitution is a shame."

Supporters acknowledge the amendment would be mostly symbolic because court decisions have upheld equal rights for women. But backers of the effort say polls have shown a wide majority of Oregonians would support it if it went to the ballot.

Voters in Washington approved that state's version of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972.

On the Web:

Oregon Equal Right Amendment: House version - Oregon Legislature 
Oregon Equal Right Amendment: Senate version - Oregon Legislature