The votes today in favor of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia’s House of Delegates and Senate mark a huge step in the fight for women’s equality. The ratification by the 38th state required by the Constitution is the culmination of decades of work, advocacy, activism and perseverance to write women’s rights into the U.S. Constitution.
When I look at the issues that policymakers have debated for many years, the reasons why we need the ERA become even more apparent. We are still in a stalemate over the latest Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, which must be done every five years. VAWA and other laws that combat discrimination against women are worth fighting for, but they are always vulnerable to attacks without the Constitutional bedrock to enforce them.
A Constitutional amendment is forever. It cannot be repealed, rolled back or expire. It is not subject to the whims of who controls Congress, a statehouse or the White House.
As the long-time sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment in the House of Representatives, witnessing today’s votes is truly exhilarating. I commend the leaders in Virginia for prioritizing this historic legislation, and celebrate this tremendous victory with them.
In less than three years, three states have voted to ratify the ERA, rejecting arguments that the time for the ERA had passed. I am confident that more will follow. I am committed to working to ensure a vote in Congress to remove the time limit that was attached to the amendment when it passed in 1972.
We will keep moving forward until the ERA is adopted into the Constitution, where it belongs.