Rumors of our Equality Are Greatly Exaggerated!

NOW (and hosts of women’s rights organizations) will be well represented at the 50th Anniversary March, and NOW President Terry O’Neill will be speaking about the Equal Rights Amendment. This is it here:


The Equal Rights Amendment is simple, clear, and inalienable!!

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.”

It’s been 90 years since Alice Paul wrote this simple text in 1923. It is just time, people. But time will drag on if we don’t act!

92% of Americans think that women have equality under the law. They are mistaken. The only right actually secured for women in the Constitution is the right to vote.

Everything else: right to own property, right to custody of our children, right to healthcare, right to work, right to have our own bank account and lines of credit, right to equal pay, right to fight in the military, right to autonomy over our own bodies in any way, to education, to purchase sex toys, to fill-in-the-blank are made right now by a patch work of court decisions, and statues in laws that are not permanent amendments to the Constitution. These ‘privileges’ are alienable, they can be taken away. The ERA would convert them legally, federally, into inalienable rights.

At present these “privileges” and this”equality” are just gifts from the courts and legislatures, and those gifts can be taken away or curbed (as in over-regulation of health clinics that makes access to abortion services very, very difficult or impossible; as in voting rights restrictions; as in not having a law that just says you get paid equally to a man in your position or the federal government will come after your employer). Fighting, over and over, to secure the same rights, often state by state, endlessly is not liberty. Battle is not liberty. Battle does not allow the greatest expression and implementation of the people’s intellect and skill for their own and the nation’s benefit. Battle just drains energy. As we have seen just this year in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and Texas — we can fight like hell, and we can lose our battle for dignity, even for our lives.

The ERA would put an end to that battle. This is battle is won and decided in most of the developed world, and decided for women. Moreover, the ERA would only strengthen the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by extending its full protections to women of color, as women. It would benefit the LGBTQIA communities by assuring that these women are also fully recognized as persons with inalienable rights. The same forces that resist the ERA refuse to ratify CEDAW, and that leaves American women and international women in America vulnerable.

Virginia NOW has recently been working on getting the ERA through the Virginia Legislature, but the state House will not schedule a vote even though the state Senate has voted to ratify two times!! Lots of information and tips on action can be found at Virginia ERA and Equal Rights Amendment.

We need you to lend your words and work to this effort. You can sign this petition to Congress to lift the deadline on ratification: (click here). You can read the White House’s response to the petition on their website: (click here). It’s positive, it’s supportive, it’s lots of things but it is not pro-active. We feel the White House needs a little encouragement. So do this: 

  • Write to the White House, and tell them that you’re glad to have Fair Pay and Title IX and so forth, but these laws are not civil rights amendments and they can be changed, or overturned at any time. Only a ratified constitutional amendment would truly secure these rights for all women.
  • Write to your federal representatives and to your state representatives (see bottom of page), and tell them that you’ll support them if they support you–ratification and/or removal of the deadline for ratification is the form this support should take.
  •  Visit Equal Rights Amendment dot Org for complete details and suggestions for getting your boots on the ground! Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, I am talking to you!!!. If you live in these 15 states, go kick some ratification butt!!! We only need 3 out of 15.

Below, NOW’s resolution in favor of the ERA Amendment & CEDAW. (We are one of only a few nations not to sign on. That distinguished cadre includes: United States, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran, and two small Pacific Island nations [Palau and Tonga]). For the full complement of NOW Resolutions (click here). 



WHEREAS, constitutional equality for women is a core issue for the National Organization for Women (NOW) and discrimination based on sex is a violation of human rights; and

WHEREAS, NOW is supporting both the 3-state strategy and a Congressional strategy to begin anew on an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); and

WHEREAS, Congressional leaders for women’s equality believe it is necessary to support both strategies; and

WHEREAS, both methods provide unique advantages; and

WHEREAS, NOW continues to support ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, The Women’s Treaty) by the U.S. Senate;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW reaffirms that we continue to work on several strategies that educate the public about the need to win constitutional equality for women; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW create an “ERA Educate to Advocate Campaign” and actively pursue opportunities to obtain media attention to bring the movement to ratify the ERA and CEDAW (The Women’s Treaty) into the national conversation; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we recommend to the NOW/PAC and the state and local PACs that they score candidates on their support for an ERA on the 3-state strategy, a Congressional strategy to begin anew on an Equal Rights Amendment, and CEDAW (The Women’s Treaty), in considering whether or not to endorse a political candidate.

So, tell me. Do you want to have a dream, or do you want to live that dream?


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Diana Egozcue
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Simone Roberts, Historian/ERA Coordinator

Virginia NOW Endorses Candidates Who Support Women’s Rights

The Virginia NOW (National Organization for Women) PAC is proud to endorse the following highly qualified candidates in the Nov. 5th, 2013, election. These candidates will uphold and promote the Virginia NOW values of equality and justice.

The Virginia NOW PAC was established in 1978 and endorses candidates at the state and local level who support our positions on a wide range of social justice issues affecting women and families. Virginia NOW is a membership organization with chapters in Alexandria, Arlington, Charlottesville, Fairfax County (NoVA), Fredericksburg, Montgomery County, Richmond, Rockbridge County, the Vienna-McLean area, and Williamsburg.

Virginia NOW fights for women’s rights and social justice, including access to comprehensive reproductive health services, equal pay, strong laws to protect women from sexual violence and all forms of harassment, health care for all, protection of voting rights and an end to voter suppression, and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to ensure that women are – at long last – part of the Constitution.

Statewide Office

County Office

House of Delegates

Shine on,
Paradise Kendra
Vice President of Communications

Many thanks to Virginia NOW PAC Members,  Diana Egozcue & Lee Perkins!

Virginia Is For Lovers, Ken.

Virginia NOW affirms the established right of privacy in any consensual adult relationship without government interference at any level, of any branch, or by any officer. We refuse to return to discriminatory “anti-sodomy” laws of the past concerning so-called “vice” in order to mollify the cultural anxiety of misinformed ultraconservatives.

Virginia NOW asserts that the state and federal governments have no business in our bedrooms, our consenting adult relationships, our reproductive choices, nor in the gender combination or marital status under which we engage in sex or love. A sexually healthy and enjoyable future is part of a progressive agenda. Virginia is, after all, for lovers!

As a leading organization working for women’s rights and equality for all, Virginia NOW opposes Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s misguided campaign to restore Virginia’s regressive “crimes against nature” law.

We demand better protections for our children from sexual predators, and we demand to remain free to engage in consenting adult relationships without the interference of the state. These are not contradictory demands.

Cuccinelli’s actions in this and other cases indicate that he will pursue his personal agenda regardless of its impact on Virginians and regardless of court rulings, legislative process, or even common sense. As he did in forcing the adoption of hospital-level standards for health and abortion clinics, in fighting health care reform, in opposing non-discrimination policies at state colleges and universities and adoption, and in harassing a professor researching climate change, Cuccinelli is using the office of attorney general to impose his will.

Such demagoguery and aggression are not meaningful politics or policy. The private lives of consenting adults are not up for regulation, and certainly should not become collateral damage in the revisionist efforts currently pursued by the Republican candidate for governor.

Virginia NOW calls on all candidates from both parties in statewide and local elections to oppose Cuccinelli’s attempts to reinstate Virginia’s regressive “crimes against nature” law. Virginia NOW calls on voters to support candidates who will work on job creation and healthcare for all and on issues of equality and justice, rather than intrusions into our bedrooms and private lives.

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Note:  Not all Virginia NOW members are lawyers or legal experts, however:

Virginia NOW finds that the context of the Attorney General’s current appeal to the Supreme Court to reinstate Virginia’s “anti-sodomy” laws helps to bring his larger intentions into sharp focus. Like many ultraconservatives, he seems to think the cultural modernity of the 20th and 21st centuries is a problem to be solved by a kind of counter-reformation.

In April 2013, Virginia’s anti-sodomy / crimes against nature law was struck down. The full range of normal adult sexual behavior has only been decriminalized in VA since this past spring—and that includes “lascivious cohabitation.” The state’s attorney general is currently seeking a stay of this 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling by the Supreme Court.

Our Attorney General wants the “crimes against nature” law back in place in order prosecute a 47-year-old man who solicited a teenager for oral sex. But, Supreme Court cases are rarely limited to the one act that sets them in motion. Virginia laws on sex and consent are complicated, and they seem to allow minors over the age of 15 to consent to sex with minors of a similar age, but they do not allow consent between teens and adults (as well they should not.)

Cuccinelli is using a statutory rape case to reinstate laws that he’s been told three times Virginia’s courts would rather not have on the books. He’s launching a website in support of the crimes against nature laws under the guise of protecting Virginia’s children from predators.

We need better laws against child rape and the sexual abuse of children, which he did not fight for as Attorney General. His lack of oversight allowed this 47-year-old to violate a minor and suffer rather light consequences. We also need our personal liberty. Neither is optional, and they do not contradict each other.

“Crimes against nature laws” have historically been used to harass and jail LGBTQIA citizens; and have been considered unconstitutional by many since the Lawrence v. Texas SCOTUS decision in 2003. (Again, the authors are not constitutional lawyers.)

The freedom to live in one’s gender expression, to transition into one’s true gender, to love the person one’s heart is set on, to cohabitate, to live alone, to abstain from love or sex, or to enjoy sex for the sheer fun of it all have not one thing to do with punishing sexual predators who violate the bodily and spiritual integrity of Virginian adults or children.

There’s a worrying context here. Attorney General Cuccinelli is well known for his culturally conservative views—his arguments from Natural Law doctrine, for instance:

In 2009, Cuccinelli told the Virginian-Pilot that “homosexual acts” are wrong. ”They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country, it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. … They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society,” he said. – The Huffington Post

He loosely references the doctrine in the amicus brief he co-authored in support of Prop 8 in which he also argues that same-sex marriage opens a slippery slope to polygamy—despite the painfully obvious logical and historical weakness of slippery slope arguments.  The SCOTUS did not agree with Mr. Cuccinelli concerning Prop 8, and went right on to overturn DOMA. Never mind that in that case of Mother Nature v. Natural Law, Mother Nature prevails. Turns out Natural Law isn’t all that natural.

But, the Attorney General follows often equally specious argumentative lines in his (more successful) sieges on women’s reproductive care via crushing regulation on health care and abortion clinics, his patent refusal to allow the Department of Juvenile Justice and the state’s universities to adopt non-discrimination policies for LGBTQIA youth, and his barring of the Board of Social Services from protecting:

Virginians seeking to adopt or foster children, and children eligible for adoption or foster care, from discrimination by licensed child placing agencies based on race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability and family status. – The ACLU

That is, such agencies are allowed to refuse adoption on these, ahem, “grounds.”

Given this record of behavior, Virginia NOW thinks Cuccinelli is running a cultural agenda based on his own faith and moral compass and not on the shared interests and rights of all Virginians. He’s wasting the Commonwealth’s tax dollars on a petition to the Supreme Court that seems to be going nowhere fast given recent rulings. And, according the same ACLU article just cited, he doesn’t seem to understand the boundaries of the power of his office. It seems that the only force that can impede the culture warrior in is the power of an election.

In the United States, we do not rule from religious doctrine, but from reason and with a bias toward the expansion of civil and personal liberties. We seek to protect our citizens from violation and damage, but not from pursuits of happiness that harm none—whether lascivious or not.

Ken Cuccinelli clearly does not hold to this long and honorable tradition.

Virginia NOW calls on all candidates from both parties in statewide and local elections to oppose Cuccinelli’s attempts to reinstate Virginia’s regressive “crimes against nature” law.  Virginia NOW encourages voters to support candidates who talk about jobs, healthcare for all, equality and justice, rather than intrusions into our bedrooms and private lives.

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