The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was first presented to Congress in 1923. It was sponsored by Daniel Anthony, a representative of Kansas who was Susan B. Anthony's nephew. Attempts to push the bill through Congress were unsuccessful in 1923, and were so until 1970. This was due chiefly to the efforts of New York representative Emanuel Celler, the powerful chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who strongly opposed the bill.
In 1970, the Amendment was finally forced out of the Judiciary Committee through the efforts of Martha Griffith, a representative from Michigan. It was then approved by the House of Representatives on August 10, 1970 by a vote of 350-15. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 84-8 on March 22, 1972.
For the Equal Rights Amendment to become law, it still needed to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. Hawaii became the first to ratify the amendment, taking only 30 minutes to do so. By August 1974, the amendment had been ratified by 33 of the required 38 states. By June 1978, the number had climbed to 35. Congress had originally set a ratification deadline of March 1979, but this deadline was extended to June 30, 1982. By the time the extension was up, the bill was still three states short of ratification, and failed to become law.
In North Dakota, efforts to pass ERA fell to the Coordinating Council for the Equal Rights Amendment (CCERA). The CCERA was composed of many different political, economic, religious, and social organizations, all of which were supportive of the amendment. Some of the groups included: the YWCA, the League of Women Voters, the North Dakota Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, the American Association of University Women, and the National Organization for Women.
The first attempt at ratifying the amendment failed. In the 1973 session, the amendment was passed by a 30-20 vote in the North Dakota Senate, and by a 51-49 vote in the House. The margin in the House, however, fell one vote short of a constitutional majority, so CCERA was forced to begin again during the next legislative session.
Following an immense lobbying and informational campaign by CCERA, the amendment was ratified in North Dakota in February 1975. It passed the Senate by a 28-22 vote on January 24, 1975. On February 3, 1975, the House voted in favor of the amendment 52-49, which did represent a constitutional majority. CCERA was instrumental in preventing a potential reconsideration vote two days later, on February 5. CCERA rounded up enough supporters to flood the phone lines at the capital in an attempt to forestall a reconsideration vote. Their efforts were successful, and the reconsideration vote failed. In doing so, North Dakota became the 34th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.