West Virginia Legislature Confirms Women Are Second Class Citizens


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On Friday, Republicans in West Virginia’s state senate voted unanimously to rescind the state’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have guaranteed the equality of women under the US Constitution.

The state legislature approved the Amendment in 1972, but the Amendment was never enacted because not enough states voted to ratify, despite congress voting to extend the deadline until 1982. But in 2020, Virginia’s newly Democratic legislature finally voted to approve making it the 38th state, and pushing the measure over the required three-fourths threshold.

And even though the Justice Department and US District Judge Rudolph Contreras agreed that the deadline had passed and Virginia’s vote could not make the ERA in to the Twenty-Eighth Amendment, West Virginia’s legislators were taking no chances. Lest any little ladies in the Mountain State get confused about their place in the world, all 23 of the senate’s Republicans voted in favor of Senate Concurrent Resolution 44, “Clarifying that the 1972 ratification by the 60th Legislature of the proposed 1972 Equal Rights amendment to the Constitution of the United States only was valid through March 22, 1979.”

The US House voted to extend the deadline and count the previously submitted votes for ratification, although the measure has gone nowhere in the Senate. But just in case it does, West Virginia is making darn sure that no one plans to rely on their approval to enshrine the rights of women in the Constitution. Because while in principle they are “in agreement women and men should enjoy equal rights in the eyes of the law,” they’re more concerned about deadlines.

Indeed, they treated the issue with all the seriousness and deliberation of an overdue library book which must be returned before it can be renewed. The bill passed without discussion or debate, with just 75 seconds between resolution and the vote.

As the AP notes, the bill was supported by abortion foes who fear that codifying women’s equality would give them ideas about demanding equality in health care. And we can’t have that, can we!

WVa Senate rescinds 1972 Equal Rights Amendment ratification [AP]


Elizabeth Dye (@5DollarFeminist) lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.





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