Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy(D-Prince William), the resolution’s chief House sponsor, introduced the measure with a litany of Virginia’s civil rights failures, including slavery, massive resistance to school integration and the ban on interracial marriage. “It’s Virginia again on the battleground of equality. I think it is right on time for Virginia to finally be on the right side of history,” Carroll Foy said. Calling the balloting that was about to take place “the vote of a lifetime,” she asked lawmakers: “Which side of history do you want to be on?. . . The world is watching — your mothers, your sisters, yourdaughters.”
Del. Vivian Watts(D-Fairfax) held up a photo of herself and her daughter demonstrating for the ERA in Washington 44 years ago, when her daughter was 14. Watts wore the same sash Wednesday that she wore in the photo.
“It should be ancient history,” Watts said.
“Forty-four years is a long time to wait.”
Republican lawmakers, who bottled up the ERA in subcommittee during their 26 years in control of the House of Delegates, tried to postpone action with parliamentary challenges. Several also said the vote was merely symbolic, because it remains unclear whether the amendment can actually be ratified so long after its initial approval.