Newswise — Elections have consequences and in Virginia passing the ERA may be one of them this next General Assembly session. Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy has filed a resolution which may make Virginia the 38th state pass the amendment and last one needed amend the United States Constitution. The ERA is also being met with strong resistance by the socially conservative Family Foundation.
Virginia Tech law and public policy expert Brandy Faulkner is available for interviews on the topic and can discuss how this 100-year-old amendment may impact our lives today.
“As an amendment, the ERA is not at all specific. It simply declares that everyone will be entitled to equal rights under the law regardless of sex. It's basically an anti-discrimination amendment that could be interpreted in various ways depending on context. The courts would play a critical role in determining its meaning.”
“Clearly we are still dealing with sex discrimination based on sex. Over the past decade, we have seen policy proposals to remove additional barriers to the participation of women as full citizens in society. For example, Congress passed the Ledbetter Act in 2009 to move us closer to equal pay for equal work. States have passed paternity leave acts, and of course we're still having debates about reproductive rights and health care needs for women.
“Not only are those problems ongoing, but also the scope of sex inequality has expanded to discussions about gender inequality and myriad questions about sexual orientation. In many ways, those issues are now intertwined, and helps energize the movement for sex-based equality often. Still, some believe that states have made tremendous progress in this area since the ERA was first proposed, and hence we don't need a U.S. Constitutional amendment to ensure sex-based equality. “
Brandy Faulkner is a visiting assistant professor at Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Her areas of specialization include constitutional and administrative law, race and public policy, and critical organization theory. She teaches courses in public administration, constitutional law, administrative law, research methods, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender. View her full bio here. Faulkner’s expertise has been featured on NPR, Reuters, USA Today, and the Atlanta Black Star.
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