by Ronnie Ross, Candidate for Virginia Senate, 27th District
To listen to the national news, you might think civility is dead. And, in some ways, it is. So, in an effort to bring it back, at least on the local level, let me be clear and unequivocal when I say: “Thank you, Senator Vogel.” There is much Senator Vogel and I disagree on, from education to the environment to many things in between. After all, it’s why I am running against her. However, when it comes to the ERA (or the Equal Rights Amendment), Senator Vogel and I have much more in common than we have in difference.
On January 9th, the General Assembly’s opening day, Senator Vogel voted to advance the ERA out of her committee and to the floor of the Senate in order to give it a vote. Now that it is on the floor, it is all but guaranteed to pass the Senate. I am so glad that Senator Vogel supports enshrining women’s equality in the constitution; she has said that it would be inconsistent for her to vote against the ERA considering that she is, well, a woman, and I stand as her ally with this vote, ready to defend her against criticism.
However, I do have to mention that I wish Senator Vogel’s reasoning for her vote was a little different. She has said for her that it is a “symbolic vote” and that the vote “is no longer really about what it purports to be about.” She has also said that she is only voting to set an example “for the people who really only understand this as a symbolic vote.”
Here is where I differ sharply with the Senator. The case is clear that there is significant legal and legislative redress to ratify the ERA, and that this vote is anything–or should be anything–but symbolic. Moreover, it is anything but symbolic for the thousands of women and their male allies across the Commonwealth who have worked so hard to pass the ERA. The ERA is very real and is very much alive.
I look forward to the day when “equality of rights under the law…shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex.” Insofar as Senator Vogel brought us one step closer to that reality, I am deeply grateful to her. However, insofar as her vote was cast as only as a symbol, I will continue to stand in opposition.
Candidate for Virginia Senate