This year is not going to be like any other.
We have never before seen a Committee schedule a special meeting to vote on controversial legislation on the very first day of the legislative session. Yet that is what the Senate Privileges & Elections Committee has just done.
This committee will break from the tradition of putting controversial legislation off until later, and will not only vote on repealing the Virginia Marriage Amendment, but they will also vote on the so-called Equal Rights Amendment!
Voting on two very controversial pieces of legislation – and Constitutional Amendments at that!!! – on the first day of session is unprecedented. The people of Virginia deserve better than this kind of stunt.
Nevertheless, The Family Foundation will be there standing up for and testifying in support of families.
We have been clear about our opposition to the ERA. Here are ten of the most compelling reasons:
1. Women already ARE equal under the Constitution – Both women and men already have a full claim to equal rights under the 5th and 14th Amendments, since they are both “persons.”
2. Enshrines abortion! – The ERA could be interpreted as enshrining in the Constitution a right to taxpayer-funded abortions because abortions would be deemed medically necessary just like procedures sought by men, forcing the state to fund them under Medicaid.
3. Strips Churches of their tax-exempt status – Any church that has doctrines, policies, or practices for male-only clergy will likely lose their tax-exempt status because of “sex discrimination.” This will impact hundreds of churches in Virginia.
4. Jeopardizes privacy and safety – Traditional male and female domestic abuse shelters, bathrooms, locker rooms, hospital rooms, nursing homes, etc. would be eliminated because under the ERA women and men must be treated as indistinguishable.
5. Increases Auto and Life insurance for women – Regardless of the statistical evidence showing that women live longer than men and have better driving records, women will have to pay the same rates as men.
6. Nullifies Title IX protections for women – The ERA would permit males and females to compete for inclusion on the same sports teams, as evidenced by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court which invalidated sex-segregated sports policies, including contact sports, citing the state’s ERA.
7. Threatens religious liberty and conscience – The courts would be empowered to define “sex” and “equality of rights,” which could grant special legal rights to people on the basis of subjective characteristics like “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” which have proven hostile to religious liberty and conscience protections.
8. Transfers more power to the Federal Government – Section 2 of the ERA would give extensive new powers to the federal government that currently belong to the states.
9. Requires Integrated prison system – Male and female prisons will likely become integrated, resulting in dangerous conditions and harsher discipline for women since they would be required to be treated in the same way as men.
10. Fails to prevent unfairness towards women in any new way beyond existing law - There are numerous laws in virtually all areas of American life (e.g. employment, education, credit eligibility, housing, public accommodations) that already prohibit sex discrimination.
On marriage, Virginians passed our Marriage Amendment with 57% approval, recognizing in our state constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman. However, the will of Virginians was disregarded in 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to redefine marriage, making “same-sex marriage” the de facto law of the land. Revisiting the issue of marriage on the ballot box at this point in time would only serve to ignite passions on both sides that will not promote the common good of all Virginians. It would pit neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, to this point, none of the roughly 32 states that ratified male-female marriage amendments has removed the definition from their constitutions. Why should Virginia be the first?
If you also oppose the ERA and the Marriage Repeal, we urge you to immediately email all of the members of the Senate P&E Committee through our Action Page.
After you send that email here are three additional steps you can take:
Attend the P&E Committee on Wednesday. You will have to show up in the morning and be prepared to stay most of the day, so bring a book and a bagged lunch. For more information about coming to Richmond on Wednesday, e-mail Sean Maguire at email@example.com.
Send Your Pastor to Pastors at the Capitol. We already have dozens of pastors coming to Richmond to attend the P&E Committee hearing on Wednesday. If your pastor isn’t already registered, they can register online here.
Send a Letter to the Editor. ERA Activists are filling local newspapers with letters supporting the ERA. You can counter their message by sending a letter explaining why the ERA is actually bad for Virginia. Click here to easily and quickly send your own letter to the editor.
The 2019 General Assembly is going to be like nothing we have seen before. You and I must be ready to do more than we have ever done before in order to preserve life, marriage, religious liberty, parental authority, and Constitutional government.
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.