The Sexes: The Unmaking of an Amendment

If we do not win in Florida, the effect on the balance of the states will be terrible.

—Midge Costanza, women's rights assistant to President Carter

Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment had long counted on Florida as one of the last three states needed to ratify the amendment. But they were in for a rude shock. Last week, after an emotional four-hour session, the Florida senate voted, 21-19, to defeat the ERA. Said a stunned ERA advocate: "I hope to God it isn't over."

But it just may be. Despite a promising start (in which 33 states ratified the amendment within three years...

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