Activist Crosses The Country On Foot To Promote Equal Rights Amendment

May 6, 2015

De Bossiere-Swanson (left) with local lawyer and activist Linda Miklowitz
Credit Nick Evans

An activist pushing for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment visited Tallahassee Wednesday in hopes of speaking with Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.  This is one of fifteen stops in her cross-country sojourn.

Helene de Bossiere Swanson is tired.

“Ok, well when I first calculated the miles I was at 6,956 total miles from the bay area to the east coast.  At my last calculation I am about 1000 miles away.  So we’re roughly at about 6,000 miles,” de Bossiere-Swanson says.

She’s walking across the country in hopes of raising awareness for the equal rights amendment, or ERA.  Similar to the fourteenth amendment’s equal protection clause, the proposal would guarantee equal rights regardless of sex.  Congress approved the measure in 1972, sending it off to the states for ratification.  38 of them would need to approve the ERA for it to become the twenty eighth amendment.  But Congress attached a deadline for ratification, and when the deadline passed, ERA was three states short.  Some supporters question whether those deadlines were even legal, but de Bossiere-Swanson is promoting a slightly different tack.

“We are asking Congress to remove that time bar so that we can then take our efforts and then work on the states,” de Bossiere-Swanson says.

ERA supporters argue with ratifications from just three more states, the Amendment should be added to the constitution.  De Bossiere-Swanson will stop at four more state capitols on her way to Washington D.C.