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Delaware ERA Amendment fails again in State Senate

Tom Byrne
Delaware Public Media

Dozens of women hoping the Delaware Senate would pass a state Equal Rights Amendment Wednesday left disappointed.

The vote failed mostly along party lines.

Democratic Sen. Stephanie Hansen blames Republican Sen. Anthony Delcollo for the bill’s failure.

“He was playing to the far right of his constituency and we weren’t going to do that here," she said. "The amendments that he was putting on the bill were going to cause conditions and itemization and the more you do that to broad principles, the more you weaken that.”

Delcollo offered three amendments to the legislation to address concerns the proposed ERA Amendment would lead to taxpayer-funded abortions, and incarcerating women and men in the same prisons.

It needed a two-thirds majority to advance, but only one Republican voted for it after Democrats voted down the amendments.

Hansen said Delcollo offered what she called unnecessary amendments. “I am extremely frustrated, as you can tell," she said. "Particularly because we keep coming to this same point over and over again.”

Delcollo denies politics played into his decision to offer the amendments - adding he supports the principle of the ERA Amendment.

Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry changed her vote from yes to no so Democrats could bring up the bill again this session.

Opposition stopped ERA bills in 2016 and a year ago from advancing through both chambers. Senate President Pro Tem David McBride first introduced a state ERA Amendment in 1984 as a House member. That attempt was defeated in the Senate.

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