By Linda Sperling:
(Ed. Note: The author is a Democratic candidate for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Springfield District)
The Equal Rights Amendment could finally become law in 2019, if the Virginia legislature ratifies it. The amendment needs approval from 38 states to become effective, and 37 have done so already.
As most people know, the ERA would ensure 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.” It was introduced in Congress in 1921, and re-introduced 50 years later. It was approved by both houses and sent to state legislatures for ratification in 1972.
Although the ERA should be—and for the most part is—a bipartisan issue, this is not the case for many lawmakers in Virginia.
Here in Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors recently unanimously passed a resolution in support of Virginia’s ratification of the ERA, with Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) as the only member not co-sponsoring.
In neighboring Loudoun County, lawmakers didn’t even get the chance to vote on a resolution to support the ERA, as Ralph Buona (R- Ashburn), Vice Chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, wouldn’t allow the topic to come to the Board for a vote.
In Richmond, although our state Senate has passed multiple bills in support of the ERA, Republican leadership in the House of Delegates consistently refuse to hold hearings on any bills addressing the ERA.
Moreover, during a recent debate with Sen.Tim Kaine (D), his Republican opponent, Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, claimed the ERA to be “only good for litigators and lawyers.” Stewart added that ratification will lead to men suing to get into women’s athletic programs.
In 2019, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a tremendous opportunity to make history. I hope that all members of the General Assembly can work across party lines to pass legislation ratifying the ERA. Let’s prove that not only is Virginia is for Lovers, but that Virginia is for Lovers of Equality
Linda Sperling is a marketing executive and former college professor, and is a member of Springfield District Democratic Committee