The Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment Wednesday, putting Virginia on track to become the 38th state to ratify the amendment.
The House voted 59-41 to pass the measure, with all 55 Democratic lawmakers voting in favor and all but four Republican lawmakers voting against it.
The state Senate voted 28-12 to pass the measure, with 21 Democrats and seven Republicans voting in favor.
All 13 members of Prince William County's state delegation voted in favor of ratifying the ERA, including Sen. Richard Stuart, R-28th. Stuart voted against the amendment in 2019.
Sen. Jill Vogel, R-29th, of Fauquier County, also voted in favor of ratifying the resolution.
The House ERA resolution was sponsored by Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-2nd, and co-sponsored by Del. Hala Ayala, D-51st, both of whom represent constituents in Prince William County.
The Virginia House of Delegates just voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution of United States of America.— Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) January 15, 2020
“Equal rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.” pic.twitter.com/irIF1NkayJ
“As the House sponsor of the bill, it is an honor to lead the effort in this historic moment for women,” Foy said. “This vote demonstrates how greater female representation in government can significantly improve the lives of women across the country. We are here and will be heard.”
Ayala, who has centered her legislative priorities around providing equality and equity in Virginia, said the ratifying the ERA is a major step forward in achieving equality for all Americans.
“As a single mother and Afro-Latina woman, I have personally witnessed and experienced the discrimination that impacts marginalized communities,” Ayala said in a statement issued after the vote.“We cannot sit still as these problems rage around us. Today, we stood up and spoke out to make sure women are shown equal respect under the Constitution.”
The ERA, if approved by Congress, will provide women the same recognition as men under the United States Constitution and would end legal distinctions between men and women in issues such as divorce, property, employment and other matters.
The ERA was passed by Congress in 1972 but needed to be ratified by 38 states by 1982 to be adopted into the U.S. Constitution. At the time, only 35 states had ratified it, and the amendment was never taken into the Constitution.
Virginia will become the 38th and final state needed to ratify the amendment once it’s signed by Gov. Ralph Northam -- 38 years past the deadline.
It’s not clear yet whether the amendment will be ratified by Congress given the deadline. Also, five states that passed the ERA prior to 1982 – Kentucky, Nebraska, Idaho, South Dakota and Tennessee – have since rescinded their ratifications, further adding to the uncertainty surrounding the proposed amendment.
Foy said in an interview with Prince William Times in December that legal challenges were expected but that she was “more than confident that the Equal Rights Amendment will survive any type of legal challenge and become a part of the United States Constitution.”
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