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Confused about the Equal Rights Amendment, or #ERA?

Maybe you think women already have equal rights. What rights are missing? What can't a woman do in the US? We're much better off than women in other countries that have equality in the Constitution.

Why do we need the ERA?
First, I'm a man. I'm also running for office in Virginia, a state poised to be the 38th and final state to ratify this amendment and make it a part of the Constitution. I'm also a lawyer, and a huge fan of equality.

I read @JessicaNeuwirth's book "Equal Means Equal."
As a man I'm ashamed I only recently became aware of this struggle which is nearly 100 years old. That as a law student, I ignored the feeling when I first read that sex-based classifications weren't entitled to the strict spotlight reserved for race-based classifications.
I've spent the last 15 years practicing immigration law, always driven by a sense of justice for the oppressed. I've fought Violence Against Women Act cases, asylum cases for victims of DV, and never once thought, hey! There are some serious legal impediments for women.
Inequality is a disease that grows like a poisonous weed. It sprouts throughout communities, stifling growth, killing fruits of labor and hiding blossoms of prosperity. It blots out disinfectant sunlight, letting parasites of greed and selfishness thrive under its dark cover.
Those who exist where the air is pure don't see what goes on underneath: entire communities choked off from prosperity.

We've fought back. We've passed laws that snip away at the leaves and vines. It's not enough. To truly choke these weeds out, we need to cut it from its roots.
This metaphor helps us understand why we need the ERA.

Over 70% of Americans believe equal rights are already guaranteed to women in the Constitution, the root of our law. They are shocked to learn they aren't.
Women seeking redress for laws that hurt them are required to clear insurmountable proof. It gets tricky, in the absence of a guarantee of equal rights, to strike down a law that doesn't discriminates on its face, but harms only women.
We cannot ignore the historically unequal place of women in our society. And a legal system that places the burden on women to prove it without taking that historical inequality into consideration is faulty.

It must be fixed. #ERANow
We're talking about basic things like equal pay for equal work, not being discriminated against for being pregnant and well, allowing the survival of our species, or protected from domestic violence.
ou see, because our Constitution does not guarantee equality on the basis of sex, we've had to fight these inequalities one at a time. Which is kind of like cutting the leaves off a weed while leaving its roots intact.
As a lawyer, I can't wait to write a brief and cite to the Constitution to advocate for a female client.

We have the tools to remove the chokehold of this poisonous weed, if we can first create the tool to uproot it. The ERA gives us that tool.
Men: Recognize your privilege. Ask yourself what you may have done (or not done) to allow this weed to take root.

And recognize there's an easy fix. Show up with the majority and demand the ERA be the law of the land.
It's not just because we're dads to our daughters or sons to our mothers.

It's simply the right thing to do.

If racism offends you and sexism doesn't - you got a problem.
(Posthumous postscript for Phyllis Schlafly: I credit my wife @rabiahmahmed for forcing me to confront my prejudice.)
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