Connie Brennan, the ERA & Nelson County
A letter from Connie Brennan
December 5, 2018
I am spearheading an effort to encourage the Nelson County Board of Supervisors to pass this resolution supporting the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
This will add Nelson County to the growing list of jurisdictions in Virginia which have passed such resolutions.
The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in 1923 and was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification in 1972. In order to amend the Constitution of the United States, ¾ of all the states, i.e. 38 of the 50 states, must ratify. To date, 37 states have ratified and Virginia could be the 38th, ensuring an amendment to the Constitution will be in place, filling the current void that does not assure Americans of equality on all levels.
On January 9, 2019, Virginia opens its 400th consecutive General Assembly session with an historical opportunity to be the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
The session will last just 45 days and during that time, Virginia’s House and Senate leadership are called upon to commit to equality by ensuring a path for the resolutions to the House and Senate floors.
The Virginia Senate voted to ratify in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016, but no ratification was forthcoming in the House of Delegates. During the 2018 session, 73 legislators (21 out of 40 Senators and 52 out of 100 Delegates) signed on as patrons. Although the legislative support was not enough to get the legislation out of committee and onto the floor of the full House/Senate, early indicators are that the campaign is very well positioned for 2019. With your help, we will succeed in 2019!
People may ask why such a constitutional amendment is needed.
The Equal Rights Amendment would provide a fundamental legal remedy against sex discrimination for both women and men. It would guarantee that the rights affirmed by the U.S. Constitution are held equally by all citizens without regard to sex.
The ERA would clarify the legal status of sex discrimination for the courts, where decisions still deal inconsistently with such claims. For the first time, sex would be considered a suspect classification, as race currently is. Governmental actions that treat males or females differently as a class would be subject to strict judicial scrutiny and would have to meet the highest level of justification – a necessary relation to a compelling state interest – in order to be upheld as constitutional.
To actual or potential offenders who would try to write, enforce, or adjudicate laws inequitably, the ERA would send a strong preemptive message – the Constitution has zero tolerance for sex discrimination under the law.
The equity gap is most severe for women, particularly women of color. Boys and men are also impacted by the sex equity gap, whether they have employed mothers or are married to a woman who is underpaid. Ratification of the ERA will benefit EVERYONE.
I am asking if you would be willing to sign a petition to be sent to the Board of Supervisors in support of the resolution. I plan to attend the BOS meeting on December 11 to present the issue and would like to have your support.
We need to ACT NOW! Time is of the essence!
Thank you for your consideration!
December 5, 2018
Would anyone really want to turn back the clock on women's advancement? YES. Many people do.
Numerous members of Congress previously have:
tried to cripple Title IX, which requires equal opportunity in education
opposed the Violence Against Women Act, the Fair Pensions Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act
voted to pay for Viagra for servicemen but oppose funding for family planning and contraception
for decades blocked U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
In an interview reported in the January 2011 journal, California Lawyer, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia disregarded 40 years of precedent when he stated his belief that the Constitution does not protect against sex discrimination. This remark, which provoked widespread public reaction, has been cited as clear evidence of the need for an Equal Rights Amendment in order to guarantee that all judges, regardless of their judicial or political philosophy, apply the Constitution to prohibit sex discrimination.