The ERA stands for the equal rights amendment, a constitutional amendment proposed by Congress in 1972. It stated that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” In proposing the amendment, Congress gave the states 10 years in which to ratify it. But in 1982 only 35 of the necessary 38 states had approved the amendment, which then died. The failure to ratify the ERA was the result of disagreement over how the language would be interpreted. Supporters believed the amendment would guarantee women equal treatment under the law; opponents feared the amendment might require women to forfeit the financial support of their husbands and require them to serve in the military.