"It is amazing that Virginia decided to become the 38th state to pass the Amendment. It's a historical landmark," said senior Caylie Hubbert. (Photo Credits: flixr/Kheel Center/Used with Permission )
"It is amazing that Virginia decided to become the 38th state to pass the Amendment. It's a historical landmark," said senior Caylie Hubbert.

Photo Credits: flixr/Kheel Center/Used with Permission

Virginia Becomes the 38th to Pass the Equal Rights Amendment

January 24, 2020

Last Wednesday, January 15, Virginia became the 38th state to approve the Equal Rights Amendment. The fate of the Equal Rights Amendment, or the E.R.A, is still up in the air though, due to the fact that the deadline for approval from three quarters of the 50 states expired in 1982.

“I think it is amazing how powerful a movement can be that it after so many years it can come back to life and still have the public talk about it,” said senior Kylee Weathers 

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Virginia finally ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment . In 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), originally written by feminist weomen’s suffrage leaders Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, was first introduced in Congress. The ERA is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex by ending legal distinctions between men and women in various matters including divorce, property and employment. . As of now, the only amendment in the U.S. Constitution that addresses any sort of equality of the sexes is the 19th Amendment, which prohibits the government from denying U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex. Supporters of the ERA believe that the 19th Amendment does not have a broad enough scope to ensure that men and women are treated equally, in general. Although there are several laws in place that ban sex discrimination in various arenas, like the Equal Pay Act, for example, laws are easier to change. A constitutional amendment is more permanent. The ERA would challenge anything from unequal pay to restrictions on abortion. It could also implicitly prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community. . Unlike the U.S., Armenia’s Constitution does state that men and women are equal, in addition to laws that grant equality on the basis of sex. However, women in Armenia face discrimination in all spheres nonetheless because Armenian society lacks the strong mechanisms necessary to uphold equality between the sexes. The Armenian government has put in minimal effort to bring about change as it views gender equality an issue that was resolved in the Soviet times. . Continue reading below in the comments or on FB. . . . #EqualityArmenia #EqAr #EqualRightsAmendment #ERA #Virginia #VirginiaERA #ERAVirginia #ERANOW

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The E.R.A is a symbol for those who for generations have been pushing for a constitutional guarantee of legal rights regardless of sex. The amendment, in its most recent proposed form, states “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.” In 1972, when Congress passed the amendment, only 35 states ratified it in time. The issue was a topic of intense national debate throughout the 70’s but began to fade over time.

“The fact that this Amendment hasn’t gotten passed earlier is weird to me, I’m not surprised it is making a comeback,” said Junior Isabella Duarte. 

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On#ThisDayinHistory 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment is passed by the U.S. Senate and sent to the states for ratification. First proposed by the National Woman’s political party in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment was to provide for the legal equality of the sexes and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. More than four decades later, the revival of feminism in the late 1960s spurred its introduction into Congress. Under the leadership of U.S. Representative Bella Abzug of New York and feminists Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, it won the requisite two-thirds vote from the U.S. House of Representatives in October 1971. In March 1972, it was approved by the U.S. Senate and sent to the states. Hawaii was the first state to ratify what would have been the 27th Amendment, followed by some 30 other states within a year. However, during the mid-1970s, a conservative backlash against feminism eroded support for the Equal Rights Amendment, which ultimately failed to achieve ratification by the requisite 38, or three-fourths, of the states. The Equal Rights Amendment, in its most recently proposed form, reads, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.” #ERA #EqualRightsAmendment #WomensRights #WomensHistoryMonth

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In 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to approve the E.R.A and Illinois followed soon after to become the 27th state in approval. In November, Virginia made a historic shift in its state government from majority Republican to now majority Democrat. Due to this shift in the majority, on Wednesday both houses of the Virginia legislature approved the ratification for the resolution.

However, major conflicts have arisen surrounding the amendment . Earlier this month, the Justice Department released an opinion stating that Virginia’s attempt to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment has come far too late, considering the 1982 deadline and due to this the whole legislative approval process has to restart for the proposed amendment to be legally binding. In addition, over the years five states have rescinded their approvals of the E.R.A.

“As women today, we do have so many more rights than we did in the 70’s, so I don’t think many people realize we don’t even have a real Equal Rights Amendment,” said senior Olivia Tremonti.

By some estimates, about 80 percent of Americans have the misconception that men and women are already guaranteed equal rights by the Constitution. Supporters of the E.R.A say that ratifying the amendment will, among many other things, help end discrimination in the work place and require states to intercede in cases of sexual violence and domestic assault. On the contrary, opponents say that passing the amendment would intrude on religious practices and undermine family structure. 

Based on legal precedent, the 5 states that decided to rescind their ratifications doesn’t interfere with it’s passing, but the debate is not likely to end anytime soon. It is heavily anticipated, although not for sure, that the Supreme Court will make a decision on this. 

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