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Virginia passes Equal Rights Amendment

On Wednesday, both chambers of Virginia's General Assembly passed resolutions to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Equal Rights Amendment is a proposed amendment to the Constitution, which would guarantee equal rights to men and women. Each chamber still needs to pass each other's resolution, but that is expected to happen within the next week. Virginia would then become the 38th state to ratify the amendment.

The ERA was passed by Congress in 1972, and three-fourths of the states needed to ratify it. The seven-year deadline was extended to 10 years, but by 1982, only 35 states had ratified the amendment, falling short of the 38 necessary. Over the last three years, two more states have ratified the amendment: Nevada and Illinois.

Critics say that because the deadline passed so long ago, the ERA cannot be ratified, but advocates argue that Congress can amend the deadline. "There's no time limit on equal rights," Virginia state Sen. Mamie Locke (D) said.