January 15, 2020 is a red letter day for the women of the United States because the Virginia Legislature ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.
While the Arizona Legislature has been tied up in pomp and circumstance, speeches, and meetings with lobbyists during this first week, Virginia got busy and passed the ERA.￼ How did this move so quickly? The voters Virginia ousted the Republican majority from their legislature in the fall election and restored the Democratic Party to power in that state.￼ Democrats get things done. Democrats in the Arizona House forced a floor vote on the ERA three years in a row, but a handful of powerful Republican men blocked the ERA because they did’t want their members to be embarrassed arguing against equality for their wives, mothers, sisters and friends. (The truth sometimes hurts.)
Now that Virginia has become the 38th and final state needed to ratify the ERA, it will be sent to the Congress to be made part of the Constitution.
There will be legal challenges, but every amendment that has run the gauntlet of the states has become part of the Constitution, regardless of any deadlines. And here’s a fun fact: Article V of the Constitution doesn’t give the Congress authority to set a deadline on the amendment process.
We’re not done, but we have passed a big hurdle that has taken decades to overcome. Today is a day for celebration!￼
[Photo Caption: The ERA Task Force was instrumental in Arizona’s struggle to ratify the ERA. Here they are– along with Senator Victoria Steele and me– when they won several awards at the Arizona Capitol Times Best of the Capitol Awards ceremony.]
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