Press Release from ERA Coalition.
For immediate release - January 15, 2020.
Richmond, VA – The ERA Coalition is celebrating an historic victory. The Equal Rights Amendment is about to clear its final Constitutional hurdle as Virginia becomes the 38th state to ratify it, now that both the Senate and the House of Delegates have passed identical bills to be formalized in an upcoming procedural vote. As we mark the 100th anniversary of American women winning the right to vote, we can also celebrate the success of the nearly 100 year-long quest for constitutional equality.
The ERA Coalition was formed in 2014 to work for constitutional equality. Our own polling shows that 94% of Americans support the ERA – and an unprecedented 99% of millennials support it. The message is clear: it is time for women to have equal rights in the Constitution. Women will no longer be subjected to second-class citizenship in the United States.
Despite this overwhelming support, some still seek to deny women equality. We will work closely with Congress to remove any ambiguity or obstacles that opponents argue remain in the way. The Coalition will also monitor the courts to stay current with any litigation concerning the Equal Rights Amendment. We will also continue to work with the 12 remaining unratified states in an effort to secure ratification of the ERA by all fifty states.
It’s an historic day in America. Virginia, with bipartisan support, has now pushed women around the country across the finish line toward equality and freedom from discrimination on account of sex.
This has been an incredible team effort beginning with the three women who co-founded the Coalition: co-president Jessica Neuwirth, Coalition Board Chair Maria Vullo, and Treasurer Liz Young. They have worked alongside our CEO and co-President Carol Jenkins and former chair of the ERA Coalition and current chair of our sister organization Fund for Women’s Equality Chair Marcy Syms. Our gratitude goes out to our amazing board, our D.C. Director Bettina Hager, our legal task force, and our lead organizations and supporters. We thank you all. Today is a day to celebrate.
#ERAMN officers Betty Folliard and Suzann Willhite, will join #VAratifyERA advocates, national affiliates Equal Means Equal & ERA Coalition, and activists from across the country in Richmond, Virginia to help bend the arc of history toward justice and equality in America.
Virginia is the only state in the Confederate South to have voted in a liberal legislature, and now lawsuits are flying into the federal courts on both sides of the argument to determine whether or not to void the artificial deadline that was imposed on the ERA.
“The closer we get to achieving justice & equal rights for women, the more the pushback. Now the Trump* Administration’s Department of Justice has weighed in, issuing an opinion that the ERA deadline is passed. That’s their opinion and their opinion is not binding either in Congress or in the courts,” said Ms. Folliard. “We’re going to Virginia to declare otherwise, because you can’t put a time limit on human rights.”
“Congress changed the deadline once already and they have the power to do so again,” said Heather Allison, President of ERAMN. “We have legislation to that affect in both houses of Congress, and in the US House a majority of members are co-sponsors of our bill.”
This is an historic year, representing the 100th Anniversary of women’s right to vote, and women’s rights activists intend to complete the unfinished business of the Suffragists, to pass the ERA.
“The unfinished business is to finally include women in the foundational document of this country – the US Constitution,” said Suzann Willhite, ERAMN Secretary. “Let us in.”
ERA Minnesota (ERAMN) is a coalition of individuals and organizations working to secure an Equal Rights Amendment to the State and Federal Constitutions.