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Del. Margaret Ransone (R) Undermines Separation of Church and State in VA General Assembly Hearing on ERA Ratification

Response to Delegate Ransone’s Speech on Virginia House Floor on January 22, 2019

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by Katherine White, Network NOVA

Response to Delegate Margaret Ransone (R)’s Speech on Virginia House Floor on January 22, 2018, in which she claimed that she was treated unfairly by pro-ERA activists in the Subcommittee for Privileges and Elections’ hearing on ERA ratification.

After Republicans on the Virginia House Subcommittee for Elections and Privileges killed ERA ratification in one fell swoop yesterday, Republican Delegate Margaret Ransone felt the need to lecture a room full of dedicated activists, mostly women, who had packed the hearing room in favor of ERA ratification. Among other things, Del. Ransone stated, “what I saw this morning truly broke my heart…mothers in the room who simply disagreed with my position covered their daughters’ ears.”

As a voter in Virginia, I was taken aback by Del. Ransone’s condescending attitude and her argument that it was God that determined our equality. The room was tense and filled with emotion as Del. Ransone disregarded the will 81% of Virginia voters who favor the ERA. Del. Ransone delivered a tone-deaf lecture on how women do not require the right of equality “written on a piece of paper.” Del. Ransone lectured us that it is God that made us equal. She then proceeded to cause more misery to our wounds by telling us how great her life has been. Men treat her with respect. If she could do it, why, any female should be able to succeed without that dang piece of paper!

Should anyone surprised that the room erupted in a collective groan? Yes, some of us called out: “Give us a voice” and as we filed out, and “Shame.” To add more insult, Del. Ransone – from her position of power – verbally picked on a long-time activist in the crowd who was peacefully sitting in the room. That was inappropriate and broke decorum. Del. Ransone’s tactic to make this move may have been to incite misbehavior and to get media attention. She certainly got the latter.

Later in the day, Del. Ransone took to the House of Delegates floor to play victim and to complain about the women activists’ behavior, when in fact, it was she who had abused her power. Did she not consider the time, the hard work, our feelings and all the sacrifices we all have made to get to this point? 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.