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WVa Senate repeals 1972 Equal Rights Amendment Ratification

The Republican-led West Virginia Senate quickly moved Friday to cancel the state's ratification and declaration of the Equal Rights Amendment. It declared that it had expired in 1979.

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WVa Senate repeals 1972 Equal Rights Amendment Ratification

The measure was sponsored by all 23 Senate Republicans, including three women. The measure passed by voice vote, without any debate or discussion. It now moves to the House of Delegates.

Later, Stephen Baldwin of Greenbrier County, Senate Minority Leader, stated that "it's sad commentary that in America 2022 equal rights still being discussed." We must move forward and not backward. It is important that women are treated equally in law and society.

The American Civil Liberties Union's West Virginia Chapter issued a statement stating that it would fight the resolution when it goes to the House.

The ACLU stated that "It is absurd that the Senate would reverse its commitment that women should have equal rights to man,"

The amendment was ratified by West Virginia in April 1972, the exact same year Congress sent it to the States. States had seven years to ratify the amendment, and then the deadline was extended until 1982. The amendment was not approved by the required three quarters of the states before the deadline.

Virginia legislators approved the amendment in January 2020. This made Virginia the 38th and last state that was required. In an opinion, the Justice Department stated that the vote was not necessary. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by three Democratic state attorneys General seeking to force the federal government recognize Virginia's vote.

The West Virginia Senate resolution was introduced Thursday. It declared that 1979 was the expiration date for state approval. The measure was described by Patricia Rucker, a Jefferson County Republican. She stated that it "just clarifies the fact that the resolution passed by the Legislature no longer applies."

Rucker asked for the adoption of the measure, and no one spoke. After Rucker urged the adoption of the measure and asked if anyone had any questions, no one else spoke. Some in the chamber then voted against it.

"Clarifying WV wants to rescind its ERA ratification, when there is a procedureal chance it could actually become ratified, is perhaps the most @WVGOP things I could think up," Kayla Young (Democrat) said on Twitter.

From the moment the resolution was introduced, it took approximately 75 seconds for it to be adopted. Baldwin stated that it was moved for a vote right after Rucker had described it. There was no time for discussion.

Baldwin stated that the process was for the chair to call on for discussion after she presents it. Baldwin said that she treated it as a bill to answer questions, which is not a resolution procedure. The chair called for a vote.

Baldwin questioned the point of the supermajority GOP resolution.

"What should be clarified?" He said, "What's the real story?" "I believe West Virginians are very clear. Women should be treated equally and fairly under the law."

The 1982 deadline for amendment ratification was removed by the Democratic-led U.S. House in 2020. In the equally divided U.S. Senate, the measure was not approved.

Debats have raged about what the amendment that guarantees equal rights to men and women under the law would do.

Supporters claim that the amendment will provide stronger protections in sex discrimination lawsuits and give Congress more ground to pass antidiscrimination laws. Opponents claim that the measure could be used against protections like workplace accommodations during pregnancy.

Anti-abortion activists warned that abortion rights supporters could use amendments to remove abortion restrictions because they discriminate against women.

West Virginians for Life, and the National Right to Life Committee support this resolution.

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