Virginia: For Lovers or Misogynists?

VA Privileges and Elections committee to vote on the Equal Rights Amendment to ban sex discrimination. VA is one of 15 states opposed to providing for the equal treatment of women & girls under the U.S. Constitution.
Feb. 5, 2012 - PRLog -- A vote on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) bills is due in the VA Privileges and Elections committees this week.  SJ 130 under Republican Chairman, Senator Mark Obenshein of Harrisonburg is set to vote Tuesday, (02/07/12) at 4:00 pm EST.  Last year, the VA Senate passed the ERA, marking the first, positive, legislative step toward ERA taken by Virginia in 30 years.

However, the House committee under Republican Chairman, Delegate Mark Cole of Fredericksburg is not expected to vote again on ERA this year; therefore nullifying any hopes for passage.


In response, United 4 Equality, LLC has invited some MD and DC residents to convene on the Key Bridge that connects Rosslyn, VA and Washington, DC today, Feb. 5th from 1pm - 4pm toting red heart balloons and ERA signs.  Their message to the VA Assembly is "If VA is for Lovers, then Love America's Daughters and Sons equally and pass the ERA!"

Will it make a difference if Virginia, Florida, Missouri and Illinois vote against the 1972 ERA this year?  

Consider this:
•   The ERA today is just three states short of victory.
•   ERA votes extend beyond state lines to impact the lives of all women- whether single, married, separated, divorced, widowed, gay, straight, with children or without children in the US.  
•   What impacts women - impacts men and children too.
•   Defeat of ERA is counter to curbing the human rights abuses of women and girls worldwide.  
•   U.S. servicewomen are risking their lives to protect and defend a constitution that does not protect or defend them as full citizens.

You bet it matters.

14 other states that voted against the federal ERA during the 1970s are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Nevada, South Carolina, and Utah.
Given our current economic downturn, how could any state vote against Team USA today?

Maybe none, if the 35-state majority that supports the Equal Rights Amendment got into the game versus sitting on the bench eating hotdogs and drinking beers.
The full text of the infamous Equal Rights Amendment reads:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Practically speaking, the ERA limits the power of government to control women lives.  It would apply the highest standard of judicial review that is used to protect persons of every race, creed and nationality and apply it to 'sex'.  U.S. laws past, present and future would substitute the term ‘male’ or ‘female’ with 'person', so that privileges and policies that favor one sex over another would be extended to benefit both sexes equally.  


The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was written in 1921 by Dr. Alice Paul, a republican who held doctoral degrees in Economics and in Civil Law.   Dr. Paul recognized nearly a century ago that a constitutional amendment was necessary to guarantee the economic, political, social and civil rights of women would not be subject to government tyranny.
Republicans added ERA to their platform in 1940 followed by the Democrats in 1944. It was not until 1972 that a bipartisan Congress finally achieved the 2/3 approval needed to send ERA out to the states. But it came with a hitch. Congress imposed a seven-year time limit for ratification after taking 51 years to pass ERA themselves.  Even with the three-year extension, ERA was assumed to have expired in 1982 just three states shy of victory.

A decade later, the 27th "Madison" Amendment originally written in 1789 was ratified by Congress after 203 years. Their action prompted a legal analysis by the University of VA as to its implications for ERA's continuation.  Their findings resulted in a plausible argument for pursuing the final three states needed.  The Congressional Research Service concurred that their conclusion holds promise.


Since WWII, the U.S. government has urged every country to include an equal rights amendment in their national charter while failing to do so itself.  With the inclusion of the 13, 14th and 15th Amendments to free slaves in the 1800s, granting women their inalienable rights also is hardly a radical concept.
January 2011, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia affirmed that sex discrimination is not yet prohibited under the U.S. Constitution.  The final decision rests with legislatures who enact laws that represent the Will of the People.

Taking years to enact, laws can be erased in an instant by Congress or state legislature.  Alternatively, a constitutional amendment requires a 2/3 majority in Congress + 38 states to overturn.

Without an ERA, women have faced an uphill battle against discriminatory laws, policies and practices based on two-century-year-old beliefs. Women have become the scapegoats for an increasingly vicious and ideologically-skewed debate among lawmakers who ignore their responsibility to promote the general welfare of women in caring for themselves and others adequately.

America's extensive social problems will not disappear without addressing the fundamental structure of society that remains mired in the past.  One could deduce that America without the Equal Rights Amendment is the equivalent of nurturing the body while ignoring the brain.  Neither functions well without the other. Progress is stagnant and prosperity impossible.

The quandary facing American lawmakers, corporations, religions, educational institutions, the military and media conglomerates - dominated by male speak and group think- is how to keep America on top of its game.  But the fellas are missing their home team advantage. American women and girls’ are not to be feared but embraced as allies for raising the bar to new heights.

Now to ensure the ERA does not get passed over again, contact VA Governor, Bob McDonnell (for non-residents) and the members of the Privileges and Elections committees immediately and tell them to vote YES to ERA.

For HJ 115 in the House Privileges and Elections Committee, contact:,

For SJ 130 in the Senate's Privileges and Elections committee, contact:
Mark Obenshain (chairman): 804-698-7526;
Janet Howell: 804-698-7532;
Stephen Martin: 804-698-7511;
Creigh Deeds: 804-698-7525;
Phil Puckett: 804-698-7538;
John Edwards: 804-698-7521;
Donald McEachin: 804-698-7509;
Chap Petersen: 804-698-7534;
Ralph Smith: 804-698-7519;
Ralph Northam: 804-698-7506;
Jill Vogel: 804-698-7527;
Jeffrey McWaters: 804-698-7508;
Bill Carrico: 804-698-7540;
Bryce Reeves: 804-698-7517;
Tom Garrett: 804-698-7522;

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A woman-owned social justice enterprise headquartered in Washington, DC that is solely committed to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the final three states needed for victory by 2015.
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