Part 2: Virginia could become final vote for ERA

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, has been on the brink of ratification for months and all eyes are on Virginia.

The amendment passed in the state Senate last week, but was killed by a House subcommittee Tuesday.

However, it still has a chance to be resurrected.

"The Equal Rights Amendment is about as basic as you can get," said Kobby Hoffman from the Charlottesville National Organization for Women.

Hoffman and Charlottesville NOW President, Charlotte Gibson, have been pushing to get the ERA ratified in Virginia.

It would make the state the 38th and final vote needed for the ERA to become a part of the U.S. Constitution.

"The U.S. Constitution is the bedrock for all of the laws in our country," Gibson said.

According to a poll released in December by Christopher Newport University's Wason Center for Public Policy, 81 percent of Virginians agree.

However, others, like former Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman Susan Stimpson, disagree.

"One of my main concerns about this is the unborn," said Stimpson. "This really is about the Supreme Court."

Stimpson said the ERA is about abortion, money and a fight over the judges on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This really isn't about equal rights because we all have equal opportunity under the law. This is really about a push for a liberal agenda and that is to get abortion enshrined into the Constitution," Stimpson said.

She said the amendment would allow abortions to be funded by taxpayers.

"The law says you can't discriminate based on sex. This is like any other medical procedure, you have to use tax dollars to pay for abortions. That's one of the consequences," said Stimpson.

However, Charlottesville NOW said this does not matter.

"Abortion is already settled law," Hoffman said. "It is just unfair poking fear at people and it's irrelevant."

"We are all already equal under the law," Stimpson said.

There is a chance the ERA could be resurrected in the 2019 General Assembly session.

The third and final part of this series will look at some of the challenges going forward if a 38th state does ratify the ERA.

It will air on CBS19 News on Thursday at 6 p.m.



 
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