Richmond, Virginia, February 7, 2011- The Virginia Senate today shattered a 29-year impasse blocking equal rights for women by passing a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (SJ357). The bipartisan vote was 24-16.
“It was a historical moment – the first time that the ERA has received such solid support in the Commonwealth,” said Virginia NOW President Diana Egozcue. She predicted that other states will follow Virginia’s lead and step up efforts to ratify the amendment. Only three more states are needed for ratification.
The women of Virginia overwhelmingly support the ERA. “Virginia NOW congratulates the Senate for supporting constitutional equality for women. We thank Senator Patsy Ticer, the chief patron of the bill, and Republican Senators Walter Stosch and Harry Blevins for voting their conscience.”
The bill now returns to the House of Delegates, where it will be heard in subcommittee #1 (Constitutional) of the Privileges and Elections Committee on February 14. Although the Privileges and Elections Committee tabled the bill earlier in the session, support for the bill is growing now that the Senate has acted. Delegate Mark Sickles is the chief patron of the bill in the House.
The Equal Rights Amendment states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Thirty-eight states are needed for ratification; currently, 35 states have ratified the ERA to date. The 14th amendment has often been ineffective in supporting women’s constitutional equality. Established law can be thwarted, ignored, weakened, overturned, or made worse. The ERA is an umbrella insurance policy to ensure that laws dealing with equity in education, employment, and other areas, are enforced.