Republicans block Virginia Dem effort for House floor vote on ERA

lawAn effort to place a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment on the day’s agenda for the Virginia House of Delegates was killed on a party-line vote Friday.

The vote came after another on Tuesday in the House Privileges and Elections subcommittee, which passed by indefinitely several resolutions to ratify the ERA. Despite public polling showing that 81 percent of Virginians support the ERA and the presence of dozens of advocates, House Republicans quickly moved to lay all resolutions on the table.

Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond City) rose on Thursday for a point of personal privilege on the floor of the House of Delegates and delivered a powerful speech in support of the Equal Rights Amendment.

She began, “I stand today for woman who were extremely instrumental in my life: my mother and my grandmother, who constantly battled the issues of inequality as African American women. I stand also for my daughter and my 5-year-old granddaughter and my ten-month-old granddaughter all the generations of women that will follow. For them, I realize I cannot be silent on the issue of gender inequality.”

McQuinn referenced the House Republicans’ claim that women do not need “a piece of paper” to achieve equal rights. She said, “In this place that we often call Mr. Jefferson’s House, we typically tend to value words written on a piece of paper. And although God made us equal, the Constitution that was written on a piece of paper did not. While the men who wrote it did some great things, there were countless number of things that were not so great… Now Mr. Speaker, [the 13th and 15th] amendments are words written on a piece of paper. They are significant to me as a woman and to millions of other women. Mr. Speaker, words are indeed powerful, whether they are written or spoken aloud.”

House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn said in a statement, “We know that the ERA resolution has bipartisan support, including every House Democrat being a co-sponsor, and deserves to be voted on by the full House.”


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