Richmond, VA – The Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition today applauded the Virginia Senate for its endorsement of Coalition priority SB12, prohibiting discrimination in public employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Coalition believes women and girls everywhere deserve equal opportunity to participate fully in civic, economic, and political life.

Candace Graham, co-founder of Women-Matter said, “Thanks to the Virginia legislators who voted in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, we are one step closer to Constitutional protection against gender discrimination. 97% of Americans believe women should have equal rights in the Constitution and 72% believe it already exists. Contrary to popular belief, women are not covered by the 14th Amendment. If they were, the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, would not have been necessary. Also, the words “male citizens” or “male inhabitants” are used in Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, 3 times. Both Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Ginsburg say there is no protection against gender discrimination in the Constitution.”

“The American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Virginia applauds the action today of the State Senate in voting to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution,” added Sandy Lawrence, co-president of the American Association of University Women of Virginia. “It is shameful that in 2016 the United States Constitution still does not provide equal rights to over half of our citizens–women. The Senate’s action is a critical step in what has been a long journey to amend our Constitution to mandate that ‘Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.’ We urge the House to do their part in the ratification process and vote “aye” as well.”

“The Virginia National Organization for Women says a very big thank you to the Virginia state Senate for passing the Equal Rights Amendment, said Diana Egozcue, president of the Virginia NOW. “The Senate has recognized the women of Virginia as full citizens of the United States with full constitutional rights. The final ratification of this monumental amendment will allow women to support our families with equal pay, have more resources in old age, and much more.”

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Contact: Alena Yarmosky, alena@naralva.org, (240-595-2972)

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