Nation: ERA Troubles

Its backers want more time

In 1972 Kentucky readily ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. But last week, after a noisy debate, state representatives voted 61 to 28 to change their minds, making Kentucky the fourth state to rescind approval of the amendment that would ban discrimination on the basis of sex. Some constitutional experts doubt that a legislature can legally have second thoughts about ratification. Nonetheless, the vote in Kentucky was another sign that the ERA is in deep trouble, even though it has been approved by 35 states, three short of the number needed to make it part of the Constitution.

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