By SARAH ZIMMERMAN and SARA BURNETT
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Activists who’ve pushed for decades to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are turning their focus to a handful of states that have yet to ratify it.
Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the measure to guarantee equal rights for women when lawmakers passed it on a bipartisan vote Wednesday. That put the country one state short of the 38 states Congress said were necessary to approve the amendment.
Supporters say their next targets are Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, states where they say there are active advocacy groups and significant energy. But all three states have seen attempts at ratifying the measure fail.
And there are other challenges ahead even if a 38th state ratifies, because Congress also set a 1982 deadline for the states.