Richmond, VA—On Thursday morning, the Virginia House of Delegates held two procedural votes aimed at bringing the federal Equal Rights Amendment to a vote in the full chamber. Delegate Hala Ayala’s rule change motion failed with a vote of 50-50 and Delegate Marcus Simon’s discharge petition failed by a vote of 49-51 straight down political party lines. This was the last opportunity for a vote on the ERA in the 2019 session of the Virginia state legislature.

Statement by Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority:

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, by the votes taken today by the Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates. Republican leadership in the House has blocked the ERA every step of the way, despite the fact that 81% of Virginians support constitutional equality for women. But women across the Commonwealth saw today’s procedural votes for what they truly were: votes against the Equal Rights Amendment.

“We want to thank Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, the chief sponsor of the House Bill on the ERA, and Delegate Hala Ayala, who put forward the rule change motion, as well as every other Democratic Delegate who showed loud and clear that they support women’s equality.

“The Virginia State Senate has passed the ERA six times, including once this year. Yet for 47 years, the Virginia House of Delegates has been on the wrong side of history when it comes to ending sex-based discrimination. Enough is enough. In the 2019 state elections the Delegates will have to answer for the votes they took today. We remain upbeat, and we’re ready for the fight.”