AP NEWS

Virginia Senate committee advances ERA

January 9, 2020 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Equal Rights Amendment is advancing in the Virginia Legislature, where Democratic leaders have pledged it will pass.

A Senate committee on Thursday approved a resolution to ratify the gender equality measure that could become the next amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The vote was 10-5 with one Republican committee member, Sen. Jill Vogel, joining Democrats in voting for the measure. The other Republicans, all men, voted against it.

ERA advocates say it will enshrine equality for women in the Constitution, offering stronger protections in sex discrimination cases. Opponents warn it will erode commonsense protections for women, such as workplace accommodations during pregnancies, and advance abortion access.

Once the measure advances fully through both chambers, Virginia would become the decisive 38th state to approve it, surpassing the three-quarters of states needed to add an amendment to the Constitution.

But even if it’s ratified, court battles are expected over a long-passed 1982 deadline set by Congress, as well as other legal issues.