Regarding "Fauquier's state delegates split on the Equal Rights Amendment," published Dec. 7, it is time. Time for our daughters and sons to know they are equally valued in the eyes of the law.
Our Virginia state constitution protects us against sex discrimination by our state government. However, it does not protect us against federal discrimination.
With only one more state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, support is sweeping our state. A recent poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University found that 81 percent of Virginians, across party lines, support ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment. This is higher than any other issue polled.
All over Virginia, county boards of supervisors and city councils have been passing resolutions urging our General Assembly to ratify -- Powhatan, Shenandoah, Blacksburg, Montgomery, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Page, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Albemarle, Charlottesville and more. Thanks to the VAratifyERA bus tour and the nonpartisan group of lawmakers supporting ratification, thousands of signatures are being gathered on a petition.
Del. Mark Cole, R-88th, stated his opposition to ERA ratification because a ratification deadline had passed. However, the deadline is not included in the amendment submitted to the states. There is no precedent for a fully ratified amendment being excluded from the Constitution. The deadline may be reasonably challenged in court because Article V of the Constitution does not expressly authorize Congress to impose deadlines. Nevada (2017) and Illinois (2018) have ratified the ERA.
We need a universal statement that as a country, we do not tolerate sex discrimination harming our families. The Fifth and 14th Amendments do not fully protect us because under Supreme Court cases, sex discrimination does not receive as high a level of judicial scrutiny as discrimination based on race, religion or national origin.
One more state is needed to ratify the ERA. It is time for Virginia to do our part: Let's make history.