By Derrick Blakley

CHICAGO (CBS)–As some democratic Illinois lawmakers make push to support a renewed equal rights amendment that failed decades ago, Governor Bruce Rauner is being criticized for not outwardly supporting such a measure.

Supporters say the change is needed to protect women against unequal pay and sexual harassment. Skeptics say an equal rights amendment would erase gender distinctions.

While Rauner says he supports equal rights, he has not said whether he would support an amendment to the state law.

Rauner’s lack of a direct response to the proposal drew criticism from some democrats today, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and former State Rep. Monica Faith Stewart.

“This argument is as relevant today as it was 36 years ago,” Preckwinkle said.

For nearly a decade, progressive women rallied and marched—at one point, dragged out of the state capitol for spreading blood on the lobby floor, in an unsuccessful drive to get ERA passed, reports CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.

Elise Bouc, Chairwoman of Stop ERA Illinois, said mandating equal rights protections would force women into military drafts and integrate prisons with both sexes.

A House Committee in Springfield today approved the ERA amendment by a vote of 7-5, but democrats aren’t ready for a vote by the full House.

Illinois would be the 37th state to approve the ERA.