Yes, Virginia, we do need an ERA!
by Renee Cardarelle
This week, Virginia’s Senate Rules Committee voted against moving the ratification of the ERA out of committee and House Privileges and Elections Committee refused to vote on moving the bill out committee. According to Equal Means Equal the committee room was packed with ERA supporters who kept the pressure on legislators to vote on the ERA. Considerable delay tactics were used to prevent a vote, including lumping the bill in with other legislation, delaying the bill discussion by focusing on other matters, refusing to discuss the bill, (in the House) refusing to vote on the bill and suggesting that this matter should be decided in the courts. Despite considerable delay tactics the ERA supporters finally succeeded in pushing the Senate committee to vote. The bill was defeated 5 to 9.
While the effort to ratify the ERA in Virginia did not succeed this year, it is only a temporary setback. The movement in Virginia is strong and will continue.
It’s not all bad news out there! Arizona, Illinois and Missouri are also working to ratify the ERA and there are efforts nationwide to revive this important legislation. Most importantly, on March 22, 2017, forty-five years after the ERA passed out of Congress to go to the states for ratification, Nevada ratified it. State Sen. Pat Spearman of Las Vegas stated, “It’s about Equality, period” Nevada is the first state to ratify the amendment since 1977. Only two more states are needed to ratify the amendment.
In addition to efforts of ratification in states that have not yet done so, states across the US are also working on resolutions to remove the deadline date that was placed on the ERA. This deadline was only the second time a deadline was applied to an amendment in the history of the US.
ERA Minnesota (ERAMN) is a coalition of individuals and organizations working to secure an Equal Rights Amendment to the State and Federal Constitutions.