PHOENIX — From a church parking lot in Central Phoenix to the Rose Garden at the State Capitol, women and men readied themselves for a 38-mile march over three days in support of making Arizona the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
"I think we keep looking for that shred of decency that they have within them," marcher Tammy Bosse says. Bosse is referring to members of the state legislature who have successfully blocked a vote in the House and Senate on the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Equal Rights Amendment's journey in Arizona began in the early 1970s when Sandra Day was majority leader and Sister Clare Dunn led the charge for passage. Along the way, religious pressure and secular arguments killed the bill. Some of those same arguments are blocking passage today.
Cathi Herrod, President of The Center for Arizona Policy says, "there is nothing to be gained by passing the equal rights amendment." The center maintains a conservative view of life, marriage, family and religious freedom. In her role, Herrod has effectively stopped any attempt to allow a vote on the equal rights amendment. According to Herrod, women are already protected in the constitution.
"The 14th Amendment," she says, "guarantees women have equal protection under the law the same as men."
Herrod also believes if the Equal Rights Amendment were to pass, it would constitutionally protect a woman's right to abortion. "This is far more than equal pay or anything else. This is about abortion and citizens need to be aware of that."
Those who support the legislature voting on the Equal Rights Amendment remind abortion is legal and argue the amendment is pro-life.
"If you are pro-life," State Representative Pamela Powers Hannley of Tucson says, "then you would want the children of Arizona to be raised with food security, housing security and financial security. Their moms are not going to get that until their moms get equal pay for equal work and we eliminate wage discrimination in Arizona."
Powers Hannley believes insuring laws targeting violence against women and equal pay can only be guaranteed with passage of the equal rights amendment.
Monday morning, actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted a video in support of the amendment.
Marchers are hoping fellow supporters will begin lobbying the legislature demanding lawmakers vote this session. Right now those call are falling on deaf ears. Senate President Karen Fann and Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers have indicated they have no intention of moving on the bill.