Virginia lawmakers vote to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

Jan. 15 (UPI) — Virginia’s General Assembly passed the Equal Rights Amendment Wednesday, making it the 38th state to ratify the amendment.

The Virginia Senate voted 28-12 and the House of Delegates voted 59-41 to approve the Constitutional amendment which includes a provision 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.”

With Virginia’s vote on Wednesday, the resolution has reached the 38-state minimum for it to be enacted in the U.S. Constitution, with Nevada and Illinois also voting to ratify the amendment since 2017.

The Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, would provide greater protections to women throughout the United States and could provide a pathway to implement new laws surrounding issues such as equal pay and gender discrimination.

“Thank you to the generations of dedicated, tireless advocates who made today’s victory possible,” Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, the resolution’s chief House sponsor, wrote on Twitter. “The House of Delegates passed my resolution to have Virginia be the 38th and final state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Today is your victory.”

Delegate Hala Alaya also released a statement praising the decision to ratify the amendment.

“As a single mother and Afro-Latina woman, I have personally witnessed and experienced discrimination that impacts marginalized communities. Today’s ratification of the equal rights amendment is a major step forward in achieving equality for all Americans,” she said.

Opponents of the ERA, however, said the vote was merely symbolic as it is currently not clear whether the amendment can actually be ratified as a deadline set by Congress to ratify the bill by June 30, 1982, has long passed.

Additionally, five of the states that voted to ratify — Idaho, Kentuck, Nebraska, Tennessee and South Dakota — have since rescinded their ratifications.

ERA supporters state that the deadline is unconstitutional because it was not included in the amendment text and that the Constitution also does not include any provision for recissions.