WASHINGTON — The fate of a bill calling for Virginia to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution remains in flux after the state Senate’s Republican leadership undid a successful vote on the matter Tuesday in retribution for Democratic action on an unrelated bill.
The ERA, which Congress passed in 1972, declares: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” In 1982, the amendment fell three states short of the number needed to enshrine it in the U.S. Constitution. Some ERA proponents believe the 1972 language remains constitutionally viable and that only three additional state ratifications are required for the amendment to be adopted, while others believe that Congress must start from scratch since the ratification deadline passed in 1982.
“Virginia Senate Republicans are so spooked by Tea Party primaries that they’re resorting to procedural tricks to appease the right wing,” spokeswoman Morgan Finkelstein said. “I would hope that if someone supported equal rights yesterday they’ll support equal rights tomorrow, but sadly this is the extreme Virginia Republican Party we’re talking about here. Senate Majority Leader Norment literally admitted that his caucus is undoing votes based purely on political revenge. These shenanigans are a new level of low — far beneath the standard of behavior we expect from our elected representatives.”