Minnesota’s own ‘equal rights amendment’ moves forward

The Minnesota Senate will hold hearings on the Constitutional Amendment for Equality (CAFE), a state-level equivalent of the federal Equal Rights Amendment that failed to win ratification in the 1970s and ’80s.

In a statement, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party legislators said the amendment to the Minnesota constitution would protect women’s rights in ways statutes can’t.

“Current legal protections for women, such as Title VII, Title IX, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act are statutes, and thus can be overturned with a shift in legislative majority or by a conservative court,” the statement said.

An amendment to the state constitution would be harder to change than state or federal statutes.

For employers, CAFE could give female employees a chance to bring a wide range of inequality issues before state courts instead of the specific issues addressed by existing laws.

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