Virginia became the 38th state in the US to finally sanction the Equal Rights Amendment on Monday. This has been a prospective milestone in a century-long effort to set things right. However, this amendment faces a significant amount of legal obstacles.
The ERA bans discrimination based on race and sex as well as guarantees the equality for women under the right of the Constitution. However, various questions regarding the sanctity of the ERA still stand tall. The first and foremost is the requirement of the approval from three-fourths of the state legislature to ratify this law. Several states that have formerly passed the ERA have backed down from their support. At the same time, opponents point out to an expired congressional deadline while arguing that the window for sanctioning the ERA has long since closed.
Right to vote can bring you justice
The US House has scheduled its polling contest on February 10 of this year to determine whether the deadline for ratifying the ERA has closed or not. As the passing of the ERA has been an urgent issue for the Virginia Democrats, they are in open opposition to the argument laid above. The Democrats hold both houses of the state legislature in Virginia and, as such, have already passed the ERA in both chambers in early January of this year.
The state Senate voted 27-12 in favor of the motion, which led to an outbreak of cheers among those in support as the State House of Delegates passed a resolution to sanction the ERA. This happened on January 15. The decision was finally ratified on Monday with a vote of 58-40. The process, however, did not require the approval of the Virginia State Governor, who has been a long-standing Democrat supporter of the ERA.
David Ferriero, the US archivist, will receive the ratification documents very soon. The Justice Department, however, has argued that the deadline for sanctioning the ERA has long since closed in response to a lawsuit from three consecutive states. This has effectively halted the archivist from taking any action in this regard. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has stated that he is in mind to use every tool at his disposal to add the ERA to the Constitution.
Efforts of the Women, by the Women and for the Women
Necessary efforts are being made in the US Congress to restart the sanctioning of the ERA and eliminate the deadline that was set. Even though the chances of it happening in the Republican Senate, the House Democrats are still in the process of extending the period. The ERA was passed by the US Congress in 1972 and sent the amendment to the states to sanction them within a seven-year deadline, which was later extended till 1982. By this time, only 365 countries had ratified the ERA with the most recent states to ratify the amendments are Nevada (2017) and Illinois (2018).
The opposition is with the belief that the congressional deadline for sanctioning the ERA has long since expired. As such, they point to five states that have rescinded from their ratification efforts within the timeframe that was given in the beginning. Proponents, on the other hand, are arguing that the deadline can be removed as it was not in the body of the amendment or its text and that there is no legal validity of withdrawing ratification.
This vote, however, has come as a historic victory for many women’s rights activists across the state. Even though there is significant uncertainty regarding the outcome of the ERA; whether or not it will be added to the Constitution, they are not without hope.
The first woman speaker in Virginia, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, has praised the ratification openly, saying that this action has made it possible for the daughters and sisters of the future generation to live under equal protection and rights. Filler-Corn also noted that adding gender equality to the US Constitution will not right all the wrong-doings in the history of this great commonwealth. However, this is a signal a call to the Constitution towards shared commitment.
As proponents, opponents, and experts argue over the legality of the ratification and its withdrawal, women across the state would still look at this as a momentous decision from the state legislature in their favor. A favor that has been long due and argued over by many.
Final satisfaction and consideration of the ERA
The responsible Deanna Ballad (R), the State Senator of North Carolina, has chosen to refuse sponsorship with SB 184. Also, the accountable lady preferred not to revert with plenty of requests for the comments made, when it was proposed to her in the year 2019.
In the guideline of the General Assembly, the senator or representative, who determines the ultimate consideration for the amendment of a proposed Bill is called a sponsor. Also, all the supporters of the passed out Bill, are weighed as the co-sponsors.
The administrative bodies of the Trump administration have measured and spread the valuable federal actions centering the all needed enactment of the “Equal Rights Amendment,” aka the ERA. The central work was processed in January, post the publication of one specific legal view stated by the United States Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
The best part of it that you all must know is that this amendment was supported by two of the chambers of the Congress in the very first place, in the year 1972. Also, following the same, Congress has further kept the proposition with a 1982 approval deadline, to the States.
Unfortunately, the Equal Rights Amendment or ERA has missed the proposed deadline of 1982, and only 35 other states received the approval.
But the good news follows behind, when in 2017 the 36th state Nevada, in the US, got the justification. The 37th state Illinois got the same amendment approved in the year 2018. And finally, Virginia, the 38th state to grab the Equal Rights Amendment on January 15th, 2020.