A committee of lawmakers in Virginia has just voted for the Equal Rights Amendment, the 1970s measures that would ban discrimination on the basis of sex across the United States.

The deadline, however, for getting 38 states to approve the proposed amendment was back in 1982.

The Associated Press, nevertheless, reported the move by Virginia’s state House and Senate “would mean the ERA has reached the threshold for ratification.”

The Family Research Council pointed out the problems with the vote.

Alexandra McPhee, the group’s director of religious freedom advocacy, noted the ERA “fails procedurally – it is legally moot, and thus, off the table for ratification.”

“In 1972, when the amendment passed, Congress itself conditioned ratification on a deadline: March 22, 1979. A later extension moved the date to June 30, 1982. Proponents of the amendment failed to rally enough states to ratify the amendment at either juncture, and in that time five states withdrew their ratification,” she explained.

“Now, 36 years later, proponents believe they can and should revive this stale effort. But they cannot and should not. Congress reasonably imposed this deadline because a lot can happen in five years, and even more in a lifetime. The deadline was binding enough when the ERA thought it would win. Now that it has lost – twice – proponents argue that the rules need not apply.

McPhee said that whatever ERA proponents want the General Assembly to pass will have to make its way anew through Congress by a two-thirds vote.

“Based on the current makeup of Congress, the ERA will not garner the necessary votes,” she said. “As a woman, the ERA does not support my interests, so I do not support ERA – nor should it find support in those who understand the negative consequences that will result from this amendment.”

Patrina Mosley, the Family Research Council’s director of Life, Culture and Women’s Advocacy, said the ERA “is not about women, it is really a smokescreen for abortion.”

“Abortion has extinguished over 60 million children from our nation and by design, our poor and minority communities have been disproportionately affected,” she said.

“The majority opinion of Roe written by Justice Blackmun is laced with eugenic ideology and has even been acknowledged by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

McPhee said the abortion industry from the beginning has used the courts to force its agenda.

“Now that it seems that the courts may be stacked against them, they will use any backdoor (or prop – even if it’s women) to preserve abortion.”

WND reported in September the effort to revive the ERA.

Two Democrats at the time proposed resolutions claiming the plan needs the approval of only one more state.

The ERA would amend the U.S. Constitution to state, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

But last year congressional joint resolutions from Rep. Jackie Speier and Sen. Ben Cardin, both Democrats, claimed that “whenever 38 states ‘ratify’ the version of the ERA submitted to the states on March 22, 1972, the ERA will be added to the Constitution.”

However, not only is the 1982 deadline set by Congress long past, five states have rescinded their votes to ratify it.

The ERA was defeated in large part because of Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum.

When the deadline passed in 1982, ERA supporters admitted it was dead.

Marjorie Bell, head of the American Association of University Women at the time, confirmed, “Failure to extend now the time limit for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment would terminate – what Congress initiated.”

At the time, only 35 states approved it, and in recent years, two more states joined. But ratification votes by Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky and South Dakota were withdrawn.

WND reported legislative attorney Jon Shimabukuro of the Congressional Research Service wrote about the challenges ERA proponents face years after the deadline for ratification expired.

“Thirty-seven states have now ratified the ERA, and some supporters of the amendment maintain that ratification by just one additional state could result in its adoption. … Whether the ERA can be so adopted, however, is not entirely certain,” he wrote at the time.

“Questions concerning the expiration of Congress’s original ratification deadline without approval by three-fourths of the states, and the rescission of ratifications by five states between 1973 and 1978, would likely have to be addressed before the ERA would be formally adopted.”

An entirely new resolution from Congress and ratification campaign may be needed, the CRS report suggested.

Moving forward otherwise would invite legal challenges over the deadline, the time frame and the states that rescinded their votes, he said.

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