Editor: We read with interest the Sun Gazette’s Sept. 5 editorial, “Here Comes the ERA … Again”.
Virginia residents overwhelmingly favor ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, as found in a recent poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Indeed, our own Virginia Constitution guarantees equal rights without government discrimination based on sex. The federal Equal Rights Amendment will apply this Virginia value to federal as well as state government.
Gender equity reflects the best of our society. It also benefits society, by significantly increasing gross domestic product.
The patchwork of laws supporting equitable treatment are at times modified, repealed or allowed to lapse, like the Violence Against Women Act. Laws such as Title VII and Title IX are under constant attack through litigation. The Constitution is more enduring.
The deadline for ratification is not in the text of the amendment, but in an accompanying resolution. Accordingly, it should have no impact on the constitutional requirement that the amendment will be valid when ratified by three-quarters of the states.
The Constitution does not provide for states to rescind ratification. To the contrary, when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, Congress treated it as effective even though two states had tried to rescind.
Virginia truly will be open for business when it reaffirms the equitable views woven into the fabric of our commonwealth through our state constitution. Ratifying the ERA will uphold Virginia’s proud legacy of leadership on freedom from unreasonable government interference.
Anu Sahai, Nancy Roodberg
Sahai and Roodberg are co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area