A proposed equal rights amendment to the Kansas Constitution will have to wait another year.
State Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, and chairman of the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, said Thursday there wasn’t enough support in the Legislature for the measure, so he wasn’t going to bring the matter up for a committee vote.
“It’s probably not going to happen,” Brungardt said.
SCR 1608 states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the state or any of its political or taxing subdivisions on account of sex.”
To be put in the Kansas Constitution, the proposal would require a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate, and a majority vote at the polls in a statewide ballot. Brungardt said it was obvious the required two-thirds support in the Legislature was lacking.
Judy Smith, director of the Kansas chapter of Concerned Women for America, which opposed the resolution, said she was glad to hear it.
“Women are already protected,” Smith said. “It’s unnecessary and superfluous to have an amendment against something we already have.”
But Marla Patrick, coordinator of the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, and other supporters said the equal rights amendment is needed to provide fundamental protections for women.
Patrick said supporters of the amendment will continue to fight for it.
“We’ll be back, absolutely. This is not going to go away,” Patrick said.
Kansas ratified the federal equal rights amendment in the 1970s, but that effort eventually failed to gain national ratification. Twenty-two states currently have equal rights amendments in their state constitutions.