At their annual public hearing Monday in Leesburg, Loudoun’s state lawmakers heard were urged to support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Local and state lawmakers both have seen a surge of support for the Equal Rights Amendment, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution first introduced in 1921 and since reintroduced that seeks to outlaw discrimination based on gender. Its supporters say Virginia would be the 38th and final state needed to ratify it, but others say there are as few as 31 states supporting the amendment, and that the deadline to ratify has expired.
“Equality cannot be left to the political whims of who’s sitting in office and must be enshrined in our Constitution,” said Kathy Stewart Shupe.
Many of the people who signed up to speak at the public hearing pushed lawmakers to support the Equal Rights Amendment, drawing on their own various backgrounds in the workforce and military and the history of unequal rights and wages for women.
“We need to shore up sex discrimination and harassment laws,” said Brenda Bengtson. “Men deserve a fair shake when they are caretakers or in custody disputes or seeking benefits. And women are still harassed. Under the Equal Rights Amendment, courts will review carefully any government sex discrimination, giving it the same strong review as discrimination based on race, on religion or national origin.”