Virginia's campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
Case for ERA
The courts currently treat gender discrimination more leniently (“intermediate scrutiny”) than discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, or alienage (“strict scrutiny”).
Adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment will give Congress greater Constitutional authority to enact legislation to protect women. Without this, legislation protecting women could be invalidated as happened in 2000, when the Supreme Court struck down the civil remedy provision of the Violence Against Women Act.
Virginia competes for college students, corporate headquarter relocations, top industry talent, etc. and an unmistakable indicator of Virginia’s support for gender equality will be attractive to citizens, business, and industry.
Virginia has already demonstrably benefited economically from North Carolina’s divisive politics. Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment could further this advantage, particularly if nationwide press covers the story.
Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment is good politics for Virginia, especially now when national attention is focused on women’s issues and technology companies are looking to locate in welcoming sites in the Southeast.
The November 2017 House races reflect Virginia women’s surging interest in politics and reflects an increased focus on gender equality and parity of representation.
The resolutions to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment already have bipartisan support. Expanding this cooperation to encompass a majority of legislators from both parties will give the General Assembly national accolades not only for its leadership on a longstanding civil rights issue but also for its bipartisanship during these contentious times.
The number of patrons and resolutions in 2018 showed an uptick in interest by constituents and politicians compared to prior years. In total there were 73 patrons for the Equal Rights Amendment resolutions (21 Senators and 52 Delegates). Based on patronage alone the Equal Rights Amendment had enough votes to pass the full House and Senate.
The Senate and House committees, where these bills are pending, are comprised mainly of men. With a room full of women constituents requesting gender equality in the Constitution, these majorities of men declining (again) to hear testimony and/or to send the Equal Rights Amendment to the floor for a vote will glaringly place the Commonwealth in a bad light before the nation.
Given the historical nature of the “38th state to ratify” status Virginia could achieve, there is a lot of energy and focus in the state and around the country on Virginia’s activities related to the Equal Rights Amendment.