@ Gary: Now I understand better why you have this particular understanding of "equal rights." "Equal Rights Amendment" is indeed, as you explained, a set of laws specifically aimed at gender equality and its many pertinent fringe areas in law. In fact, a number of states have such ERAs, independent from any federal amendment that would yet have to become effective.
Incidentally, federal laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (governing maternity leave situations, among other things) stem from such "equal rights" considerations.
However, the phrase "equal rights" per se is much broader in meaning. I did a little online search, in a database containing all federal and state court opinions, the phrase occurred 7075 times. Some of those hits indeed have to do with gender issues. Many, though, clearly implicated 14th Amendment racial issues. Others dealt with "equal rights" of divorced parents in child rearing context. And so on...
Thus, you have a term that is essentially too broad to be pinned to any one specific meaning, without further context. Generally, though, as I said earlier, it really is a term particularly prevalent in equal-protection-type situations pertinent to a broad array of civil rights issues. Civil rights, after all, involve more than racial issues. They can, and do, encompass gender issues. As an aside, even such Acts as the Americans with Disabilities Act fall under the general scope of Civil Rights laws.
Did that answer your question?
I guess, even after all this, it is still feasible that many in the US would nonetheless associate "equal rights" primarily with gender issues. I do not know whether that is so. The legal (and media, IMHO) usage of these terms, however, would not really support such colloquial association. But that may all be notwithstanding any "proper" usage.