Equality for all is the right thing to do
Equality of rights, regardless of sex, is a fundamental human right that belongs in the Constitution. In the words of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor,
“The ERA recognizes the fundamental dignity and individuality of each human being and rests on the basic principle that sex should not be a factor in determining the legal rights of men or women.”
Overwhelming public support for ratification
The Equal Rights Amendment enjoys enduring, bipartisan support. U.S. history shows that Americans have consistently valued equality, but not been inclusive in the definition of who was entitled to equal rights. Republican national platforms proudly supported the ERA from 1940 until 1980. Today, 81% of Virginians support ERA ratification, including 77% in Republican House districts and 86% in Democratic House districts. Over 30 city councils and county boards of supervisors, including some in liberal areas and some in conservative areas, have passed resolutions supporting Virginia’s ratification of the ERA.
Consistency of judicial standards
Women’s rights are currently subject to political winds: the laws shielding women from discrimination in the absence of Constitutional guarantees can be changed or repealed and court decisions retreated from or overruled.
In practice, the courts treat sex discrimination more leniently (“intermediate scrutiny”) than discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, or religion (“strict scrutiny”), which impacts outcomes.
Advocating for the ERA
Diverse, cross-sectional groups support Virginia’s ratification, including: APV, AAUW of Virginia, American Bar Association, ACLU of Virginia, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Virginia Social Task Force, Democratic Party of Virginia, LWV of Virginia, Virginia AFL-CIO, Virginia Education Association, Virginia Municipal League, Virginia NAACP State Conference, Virginia NOW, Virginia Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and the Virginia Poor People’s Campaign.
Ratifying the ERA is a priority for NOW. Women are still not guaranteed equal rights under the U.S. Constitution. NOW has made ratifying the ERA a top priority because equality in pay, job opportunities, political structure, health care, including reproductive health care, and education will remain elusive without a guarantee in the U.S. Constitution. An ERA would also make it significantly more difficult to roll back progress on women’s equality: an acute concern in our current political climate. NOW supports an intersectional interpretation of the ERA that uplifts the needs of all women including immigrant women, low-income women, women of color, women with disabilities, and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Meeting with your legislator
Speaking directly to your own legislator or his/her legislative aide is the most effective lobbying you can do. Speaking with other legislators and/or legislative aides is also helpful in showing strong state-wide support.
Talking with a legislator / legislative aide:
- If time permits, it can be effective to tell a personal story about why you support the ERA.
- Mention the strong, diverse, state-wide support. 81% of Virginians support ratification according to the Wason polling.
- If speaking with a Republican mention thirty localities have passed resolutions. The conservative areas of the state that will be of greatest interest to Republicans are:
- All of Hampton Roads (Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Northampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach)
- James City, Montgomery, Page, Powhatan, Prince Edward (+ Farmville), Prince George, and Shenandoah counties; Jonesville City Council
- Ask the legislator’s position on the issue and areas of concern.