Virginia Ratifies The Equal Rights Amendment, Decades After The Deadline

NPR.org | 1/15/2020 | Bill Chappell
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Both houses of Virginia's legislature voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, but the ERA's future is uncertain: Its original deadline elapsed decades ago. Here, an ERA supporter reacts to a Virginia Senate committee's vote to advance the ERA amendment last week.

Virginia became the pivotal 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment after its Senate and House of Delegates voted Wednesday to approve the change to the U.S. Constitution.

ERA - Provisions - Guarantee - Equality - Rights

The ERA's provisions include a guarantee that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

"The Virginia Senate voted 28-12 and the House of Delegates 59-41 to approve the ERA," NPR's Sarah McCammon reports.

US - Constitution - Law - US - State

Under the U.S. Constitution, amendments become law when they're ratified by at least three-fourths of U.S. state legislatures — or 38 out of 50. However, the ERA's original deadline for ratification expired in the 1980s, putting its future on uncertain legal ground. That didn't stop backers in Virginia from welcoming a long-awaited day.

"Supporters pour out of the House gallery to celebrate with Delegates Ayala and Carroll Foy," reporter Mallory Noe-Payne said via Twitter, posting images of women hugging at the Virginia State Capitol.

Ratification - Vote - Virginia - Session - Voters

The ratification vote came early in Virginia's legislative session, after voters put a record number of women in office in November. The state House now has the first female speaker in its history; women also serve as president pro tempore of the Senate and in other high-profile posts.

"The people of Virginia spoke last November, voting a record number of women into the House of Delegates and asking us to ratify the ERA," said House Majority Leader Charniele Herring. "It is inspiring to see the amendment finally be considered, voted on and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: NPR.org
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