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Virginia could become last state needed to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Thirty-seven states have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, just one shy of the 38 required to ratify a constitutional amendment, WTKR reported.

Now, there is an effort to get Virginia on board to pass the amendment during the General Assembly session early next year.

The proposed federal amendment would guarantee equal rights on the basis of gender. Congress passed the law in 1972 and states are required to ratify it to make it a constitutional amendment, but not enough have.  At the time, Congress put a 10-year deadline to ratify, but advocates believe ratification can still happen.

The measure has been brought up several times in the General Assembly and has passed the Senate, but has failed to gain traction in the House of Delegates. There's a renewed push to get the amendment passed that includes a bus tour going through the state this week.

"It's necessary to pass this because it will give us the protection that we need in the constitution as women, but we do not have," said Del. Kelly Fowler, who represents parts of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.

Virginia Beach's city council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the ratification during Tuesday night's meeting.

Opponents argue there are already protections for women under the 14th Amendment and believe it would lead to a "sex-neutral" society. The Eagle Forum argues it would be used by activist lawyers and judges to change laws like the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding of abortion.

The General Assembly session begins in January.

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