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General News    H2'ed 1/16/20

Did you feel the Earth move?: Virginia Becomes Needed 28th State to Ratify the ERA!

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The long stymied Equal Rights Amendment is much closer, but will still require the kind of militant struggle by women and the men who support their demands that we saw fighting for it in the 1970s. Now is the time!
The long stymied Equal Rights Amendment is much closer, but will still require the kind of militant struggle by women and the men who support their demands that we saw fighting for it in the 1970s. Now is the time!
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By Dave Lindorff

Here's a big deal that's bound to become a lot bigger this year.

Exactly 100 years after women finally won the vote with ratification of a 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, the state legislature of Virginia on January 15 finally became the needed 38th state of the Union to ratify the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, a measure designed to guarantee full equal rights to women in all matters .Such a change in the Constitution requires ratification by the legislatures of three-quarters of the 50 states.

The measure passed in Virginia because court-ordered redistricting before the last legislative election, held there last year, undid serious gerrymandering and led to a historic takeover of the long Republican-held legislature by Democratic majorities. It's a big win, but the battle for adding the ERA to the Constitution is not over yet.

It's been a long struggle since the ERA was first authored in 1923 by pioneering feminists Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, who called it the Lucretia Mott Amendment. The measure was renamed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1943.

In 1972, Congress finally passed the ERA as a proposed Constitutional Amendment and sent it on to the states for legislative ratification. It was at that time immensely popular, feminism was huge and popular movement, and the ERA won ratification in 22 legislatures the first year out of the gate. After that progress slowed, however, and finally stalled at 35 state legislative ratifications.

The initial ERA measure passed by Congress included a deadline of 1977 for passage. Congress extended that to June 30. 1982. but the longer deadline didn't help. By then of course, Ronald Reagan had won the presidency and his Republican Party had taken control of the Senate too. That party, since the time of Richard Nixon's presidency, had become firmly wedded to the largely anti-feminist fundamentalist Christian movement. Indeed, even as support for the ERA was surging, in some rural, conservative and heavily "christian" states, a counter movement against ratification began, as early as 1973. As a result, in the period between that year and 1979, legislatures in five solidly Republican states which had earlier voted to ratify -- Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, and South Dakota -- voted to rescind their ratification votes.

Only recently, energized liberals and progressives and supporters of women's rights managed to push through successful ratification votes in additional states, with victories finally won in Nevada (2017), Illinois (2018). This past Wednesday they added Virginia.

President Trump's Bible-thumping, Rapture-believing Attorney General's office promptly issued a statement saying that the Virginia legislature's overwhelming approval of the ERA amendment didn't mean anything because "the 1982 deadline has already passed" for the state ratification process.

This controversial position by the Trump "Justice" Department insures that the amendment will now head for the courts, which will have to decide whether the Congressional ratification deadline of 1982 carries any weight (there is no mention of deadlines for state ratification of amendments or of later recision votes in the Constitution)"

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/the-equal-rights-amendment-just-got-the-support-of-the-needed-38th-state/

(Article changed on January 16, 2020 at 16:23)

 

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments  Post Comment


Lew Weingarth

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I've been waiting and keeping fingers crossed. When it passed, I contacted a number of relatives. Very few had any idea what the amendment was about. No surprise it took so long.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 6:15:22 PM

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Maxwell

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Thanks for the historical background, I had no idea it went back that far. I remember in the 70's and 80's when one of the scare propaganda talking points was that if the ERA passed we would no longer have gendered public rest rooms. Probably some of the same people who promoted paranoia about transsexuals in public rest rooms in more recent times

It will be interesting to see how this plays out now.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 7:24:45 PM

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Dave Lindorff

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Times are changing. More women are now in the US workforce than men, often being the major breatwinners as their husbands get laid off of blue-collar jobs, and they, and their dependent husbands, are getting sick of their being paid less than men in the same positions. The ERA would end that abuse. It's not about effing restrooms. It's about equality. I think these days' it's a whole new ballgame. Even conservative women who work want equal pay and opportunity, and under current law and court rulings, it's hard for them to get that.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 10:10:17 PM

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