Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON – Today, Virginia Republicans are on the wrong side of history, demonstrating a refusal to stand up for equality for women. The Virginia House of Delegates refused to allow a vote by the full House which killed the decades’ long effort in Virginia to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Votes to fast-track a floor vote on ratification were blocked by a Republican procedural maneuver designed to thwart the will of the people, with recent polls showing an overwhelming 81% who support ratification of the ERA.
One GOP delegate said supporting a rule to bring about a vote would “let the chaos of Washington into our state government.” But nothing could be farther from the truth.
For too long, generations of women have endured a system that pays them less, values them less, respects them less and treats them as second-class citizens. With their actions, Virginia Republicans have shown they are against equality, against women’s rights, and in favor of enshrining sex discrimination into our laws.
This November, they will face the consequences for standing in the way of progress for women not only in Virginia but across the country, as women push to ratify the correction to a flaw in our Constitution that should have been remedied long ago.
This has to stop – and it will.
We are disappointed in the failure of the Republican leadership in the House of Delegates, but proud beyond measure of the activists and supportive legislators who made ratifying the ERA a priority. Their energy, enthusiasm, and dedication will only be renewed by this experience, and when voters head to the ballot boxes this November, they will remember who was on the right side of history, and who voted to hold women back.
NOW Press, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-628-8669