January 9, 2019
by Victoria Cobb
Today in the Senate Privileges and Elections (P&E) committee, Republicans Jill Vogel (Chair) and Bill DeSteph voted with all six Democrats to pass the so-called Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), SJR 284, out of committee to the full Senate. This was an unfortunate (but somewhat anticipated) result, as we know that the ERA will have significant consequences that lead to tax-payer funded abortions, nullification of protections for women under Title IX and other laws, integrated male-female prisons, and many churches losing their tax-exempt status, just to name a few.
ERA proponents attempted to pack the committee room and dominate it with their large green ERA signs and purple clothing. But we helped ensure a very strong showing of pro-women and pro-life supporters in attendance to counter them.
Chairwoman Jill Vogel allowed five members representing advocates for and against the ERA just two minutes each to offer comments. Five courageous ladies, including a representative for The Family Foundation, spoke against the ERA with great clarity and conviction.
Despite today’s disappointing vote, the battle is far from over! SJR 284 will go to the Senate floor for an up or down vote as early as Friday of this week, and it still has to pass the House of Delegates.
That means you still have time to contact your state Senator immediately and tell them to vote NO on SJR 284.
That’s right! The Senate effort to repeal Virginia’s Marriage Amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman failed today!
Our Legislative Counsel, Josh Hetzler, commented at the hearing: “The issue of marriage is, and always will be, a matter of profound importance for many reasons that should be obvious to all of us. And this is no more or less true whether its definition is placed into a constitution or not.” He then went on to make the point that trying to put this issue on the ballot again would only create unnecessary strife and division since, for now, the constitutional provision lies dormant. (And who knows, maybe the U.S. Supreme Court – with its new members – will undo what a 5-4 majority did to marriage just three years ago.)
Thank you for taking more time this year to contact your legislators, go to committee hearings, write letters to the editor, and pray for The Family Foundation and for our Commonwealth!