Equal Rights Amendment approved in Virginia, expressing hope for ratification

Equal Rights Amendment approved in Virginia, expressing hope for ratification

When supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment celebrated on Wednesday Virginia becomes the 38th state to approve the proposal. The measure to officially prohibit sex-based discrimination was approved by Congress back in 1972, but only 35 states passed it before the 1982 deadline, three short of the three-fourths majority required for ratification.

In the last three years, legislatures in Nevada, Illinois and now Virginia pushed the ERA to the hump. But now, supporters will have to argue that the 1982 deadline is not binding and the support of 35 states in the 1970s must now be counted on to add an amendment to the constitution, CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford reports.

Donna Grenski said, “The only way we can guarantee gender equality is because it is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. That’s what I mean today.”

In the 70s, the ERA received support from high-profile women, including Republican First Lady Betty Ford, who spoke on the issue due to “deep personal trust”. But it also saw opposition from women such as conservative lawyer Felice Schlafly, whose anti-ERA movement stalled the amendment.

He said, “You are joking, saying that we should support something that our daughters have to fight against in the next war.”

Now more than four decades later, Gransky and other supporters are still meeting with the opposition. Schlafly’s daughter Anne Schlafly Corey is raising her mother.

“It would harm women in all kinds of other areas without giving them any benefit,” she argued.

Nevertheless, supporters saw Virginia’s approval as a victory for future generations. A young girl passed it on “empowering me to look at it and to see that I could have a similar future.”

The measure entails clearing another set of votes and then the governor is expected to sign it.

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