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Policy Summary: On January 15, 2020, the Virginia State Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The Senate voted to approve by a 28 – 12 vote while the House of Delegates voted 59 – 41 to approve the amendment. With ratification by both houses of the Virginia State Legislature proponents of the ERA claimed that Virginia became the 38th state to approve the constitutional amendment. Article V of the U.S. Constitution requires that after approval by Congress, three – fourths of the states is required to approve a constitutional amendment. Virginia’s approval as the 38th state to ratify would seem to indicate that the requisite three – fourths threshold has been met. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Policy Analysis: The time period issue and the withdrawal of approval undertaken by a number of states have complicated the process of ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). ERA opponents claim that the time period for approval instituted by Congress makes any approval by a state after 1982 invalid. They claim that the three states that approved the amendment after 1982 have never been valid and the number of states approving the amendment remains at thirty – five.

Additionally, a joint lawsuit filed in December 2019 by the attorney generals of Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota sought to prevent certification by the archivist of the United States, the final step in making a constitutional amendment official. Their reasoning was that five states that had originally ratified the amendment had subsequently voted to rescind their ratification. Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee and South Dakota voted to rescind, which their lawsuit claims reduces the number of states who have voted to approve the amendment. Based on these arguments, Virginia’s approval would only make it the thirty – first (31st) or the thirty – sixth (36th) state to approve depending on the count being used. The issue of whether a state can vote to rescind their approval after having originally voted to approve an amendment appears to be a legal issue that is headed to the courts for determination. The fate of the Equal Rights Amendment has wide support but the validity and future of the amendment still hangs in the balance. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Engagement Resources:

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) – webpage with info on the status of the ERA.

National Organization for Women (NOW) – women’s advocacy group containing info on the ERA and other issues.

This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact Rod@USResistnews.org.

Photo by unsplash-logoNick Fewings

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