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Delaware lawmakers try again on state ERA amendment

State and Congressional lawmakers at the ERA rally.

State lawmakers are trying again to pass a state Equal Rights Amendment through the General Assembly. House lawmakers are set to vote Thursday on an ERA amendment sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear).

Congressional and state leaders gathered in Dover to rally support for the bill.

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware), the state’s first woman and person of color elected to Congress, pointed out that women make up just 19 percent of Congress.

“The way that we’re going to get across the finish line is because we’re going to stay pumped, enthusiastic," she said. "We’re going to stay on it. Anybody that’s not standing behind us needs to be standing behind us and we just need to make sure they understand why.”

The rally featured a replica of the Fearless Girl Statue by Lewes artist Kristen Visbal that faces the Bull on Wall Street in New York City.

Twenty-three states have added state Equal Rights Amendments to their state Constitutions since the effort to amend the U.S. Constitution failed in 1970’s.

“We need to make sure men and women are considered equal under Delaware law," Longhurst said. "Without the legal protection of Equal Rights Amendment, it is difficult for women to fully fight cases of discrimination. The state of Delaware has to set that standard.”

Recent attempts to pass an ERA amendment to the state Constitution have been unsuccessful. Longhurst’s previous effort last year fell short in the House. In 2016, a bill from former State Sen. Karen Peterson was unable to get through the Senate.

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