Virginia could have been well on its way to becoming the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, but a Republican-controlled House subcommittee nixed the plan on a 4-2 vote. (Those two Democrats are still hoping the full House Privileges and Elections Committee will consider voting on the ERA anyway, considering this vote was merely a recommendation.)
While 38 states are needed for the ERA to become law, the Washington Post notes that the federal deadline for passage expired years ago.
Here’s what even more disturbing: The chairwoman of that subcommittee, Delegate Margaret B. Ransone, cosplayed as the late conservative Christian Phyllis Schlafly and invoked God as she explained why she was voting against a bill that would grant equal rights to people regardless of sex.
Near the 46:30 mark of the video below, Ransone tells the gathered crowd (most of whom supported the ERA) that she would be voting against it. “I don’t need words on a piece of paper,” she said, because “God made us all equal.”
She later made a similar speech following the vote — without the God talk:
… this morning, I experienced probably the most disappointing and discouraging event I’ve ever experienced during my time in this body. As a woman, the ERA is something I personally and fundamentally disagree with…
I’m a member of the House of Delegates, and it took a lot to be here. I’m a proud mother and a proud wife, and I did all of this as a woman, and without this Equal Rights Amendment this morning, I voted against the ERA because I think it’s simply not needed.
… It was my choice to vote against the ERA. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying: Women deserve equal treatment. Women deserve to be paid fairly. Women deserve to have every opportunity in life just like a man does. And thanks to the 14th Amendment and the Virginia Constitution, violating any one of those is against the law…
In that first video, you can hear women laughing at Ransone in frustration. She claims she’s treated fairly by her colleagues, therefore the law is unnecessary. The crowd gives her golf claps as they sarcastically say things like, “We’re happy for you.” What they’re actually getting at is that just because she’s doing okay doesn’t mean other women have the same privilege. Just because she’s blind to inequality doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Ransone is like a self-made millionaire who thinks everyone can succeed on merit, not realizing that some people have different obstacles in their path that makes that outcome all but impossible. But because she achieved some level of success, no one else needs the weight of the law to get equal treatment. Got that, lesbians and trans women? Got that, African American and Latina women? If you work harder, you can be just like her. The only thing stopping you is yourself, apparently.
Ransone’s speeches were willfully blind, horribly ignorant, typically Republican, and just the latest in a series of disgraceful acts by Christian politicians who don’t give a damn about the less fortunate.
In a response to Ransone, Katherine White of Network NOVA wrote that the delegate was being “condescending.” She added:
I was told by a bystander from the opposition that “we are in the Kingdom of God.” And here I could have sworn we were in the public General Assembly building in a free country that is not a theocracy.
The bottom line is that we should all be concerned with Del. Ransone using her religious views to impose her view of the world on all Virginians. God willing, our work will continue and the ERA will pass in Virginia.
You can read a list of why the ERA is needed right here. Or you could just treat it as a list of things Ransone doesn’t care about, including equal pay for equal work and better protections for women who suffer gender-based violence. While some pieces of legislation already call for gender parity, a different makeup of Congress could repeal those laws. The passage of the ERA would essentially put those laws (and the ones that haven’t been written yet) in stone.
Or, you know, women can just work harder since nothing is standing in anyone’s way in Ransone’s Godly Fantasy World.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)