The Equal Rights Amendment failed to pass the House Privileges and Elections sub-committee this morning. The final 4-2 vote was on party lines, with Republicans against while the Democrats lobbied for the bills passage.
The voted happened at the 7:30 a.m. meeting Tuesday morning. Del. Ransone asked supporters of the ERA to stand, and then she asked those who were opposed to stand. This made it clear that the majority of the people in the room supported the amendment, while roughly 20 percent of the room opposed it, coincidentally reflecting the CNU poll numbers showing support of the ERA in Virginia at 81%.
Eileen Davis has been a longtime-advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia. Davis was called out directly by chairwoman Del. Ransone during the meeting. “And Eileen you sit back there and you shake your head” said Ransone. “You all have disrespected me year after year and Eileen you have brought young people and young women to my office and told them that they are not worthy. They are worthy.” Davis responded by agreeing, while noting that the law should also reflect that sentiment.
The crowd began to get rowdier as Ransone continued to engage. She then tried to put the breaks on her brief-tangent by wrapping up her reasoning to oppose by saying “God made us all equal.” The committee then proceeded to the vote, nearly-killing the bill on a 4-2 vote.
I say “nearly” because the ERA still has a chance in the full committee meeting on Friday. The bill has received bipartisan support in both chambers and would likely pass both chambers where Republicans have 2-vote majorities in both. Democrats told me that they are hopeful that the bill will be introduced by the chairman Mark Cole. However, history in this committee under this chairman is not a promising outlook for the amendment.
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