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Virginia votes to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment; Division of Diversity and Inclusion to host week of events in honor of MLK

Today is Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. Here’s what you need to know:

Good morning, 

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, Virginia became the 38th and final state needed to back the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). However, this support does not guarantee ratification into the U.S. Constitution and isn’t the first time it’s been up for debate. The Virginia House voted 59-41 followed by the Senate voting 28-12.

The ERA ensures equality for women by banning discrimination on the basis of sex under the authority of the Constitution. While supporters of the amendment argue it’s about ensuring protections and rights for women, the amendment comes with some pushback from conservative opponents.

Republican Senator Amanda Chase said, “This so-called Equal Rights Amendment will not give women any more rights than they have today.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel argued in a legal opinion that the deadline had already passed for ratification, but with Virginia’s support, the states are able to act on their own. The last time the ERA was on the table was 1982 when only 35 states were backing it when the deadline passed. Even with Virginia’s support, the resolution is likely to remain in the courts for many years.

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