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WHEREAS, equality under the law is a fundamental value of Americans and the people of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, legislation and court decisions have increased women’s access to education, employment, healthcare, and public services; and
WHEREAS, Americans value the continued participation of women in education, the military, public service, and all professional spheres of our society; and
WHEREAS, on August 26, 2019, we celebrate the 99th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted certain groups of women the right to vote for the first time; and
WHEREAS, it was not until decades later that enfranchisement was extended to all women with the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and
WHEREAS, the Equal Rights Amendment, passed by Congress in 1972, requires that courts apply the same level of scrutiny it applies to test the constitutionality of government action based on race, religion, or national origin; and
WHEREAS, since its passing, 37 states have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, just shy of the 38 needed to satisfy the Constitutional requirement that three-fourths of states ratify the amendment to become valid; and
WHEREAS, the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University found 81% of Virginians support Virginia’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment; and
WHEREAS, we continue to work toward the unrealized goal of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia so that women’s equality may be constitutionally protected;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize August 26, 2019, as WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.