Did Virginia really revive the ERA or just waste time?

Democrats care deeply about equality, and the new blue Virginia Legislature wasted no time voting to become the 38th state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, despite its failure to reach the required 38 states in 1979 and again after the cut-off date was extended to 1982.  Perhaps the Virginia legislators used Common Core math, because only two other states later approved it, while five states rescinded, thus Virginia does not add to 38 states.  

Nonetheless, the new Democrat majorities quickly passed the ERA last week.  The excitement was overwhelming on the Democrat side.  For example, Del. Danica Roem (D), once a heavy metal musician then journalist and now the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly, immediately got a blue ink tattoo of the first 24 words of the ERA on his left arm.  Virginia attorney general Mark R. Herring quickly promised his full support to force it into the U.S. Constitution.  

Did Virginia Dems have some insider knowledge that prompted this seemingly pointless vote?  Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council uncovered a clue as early as November 2019 in his FRC Washington Update article.  He reported that Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and an enthusiastic supporter of the ERA, said, "You guys [Republicans] get so caught up in ... process.  

Congressman Mike Johnson stated: "Process doesn't matter[.] ... We're here to advance an agenda.  We don't care what the rules say.  We don't care what the Constitution says[.] ... That stuff's immaterial."  

More evidence suggesting that Virginia's ERA ratification was a coordinated plan just surfaced in the Washington Examiner.  "The House is poised this week to pass a measure that would revive the long-dead Equal Rights Amendment by repealing the 1982 deadline imposed on states to ratify it."  "The measure, H.J. Res. 79, would 'permanently reopen the ratification process for the amendment by eliminating the deadline[.]'"   It is unlikely to get past Mitch McConnell's Senate.  

However, if by some miracle they succeed, Joy Pullman, executive editor of The Federalist, provides more details on why the ERA must be opposed.  She listed the ERA's top five unintended consequences, surprisingly identified by a leftist UVA professor.  Three stand out:

  1. Women have equal rights already[.] ... That means a constitutional amendment claiming to [establish them] is actually doing something else.
  2. The ERA would harm women because it would not only bar ... policies designed to benefit girls and women.  It would also jeopardize single-sex settings, such as schools, dormitories, prisons and locker rooms.
  3. Do we really want to start embedding identity politics into the highest law in the land?

Hopefully, the ERA is going nowhere; however, there is back-up legislation.  Last week Virginia passed a version of the House Dems' pending "Equality Act."  According to the Family Foundation, Virginia's SOGI anti-discrimination version similarly forces flawed, fluid, and totally subjective notions of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" into private employment decisions and "public accommodations," which even appear to include churches (!), and will grant new powers to initiate civil suits, including fines ($50,000 for the first offense, and then up to $100,000 for each subsequent offense).  At least lawyers and leftist bullies will be pleased. 

Milton Friedman summarized the consequences more concisely.  "A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither.  A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both." 

Correction made: remarks by Cngressman Johnson were mistakenly atributed to Congressman Cohen

Image: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.

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