Legislation amending the Delaware Constitution to bar gender discrimination is set be voted on again next year.
The state Equal Rights Amendment would add just a single sentence to Delaware’s Constitution. It would bar discrimination based on a person’s sex.
Changing the constitution requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate in two consecutive General Assembly sessions. Last year marked the first time since a state Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in 1984 that it passed both the House and Senate.
The second leg of the vote is expected quickly. The amendment’s sponsor, House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear), has already pre-filed the measure. Longhusrst says she's optimistic state lawmakers will pass it again next year.
“There was a lot of people involved in this and I think it’s a collaboration of all the good things in Delaware that we can be from two separate parties that come together and do a historic piece of legislation like this,” said Longhurst.
The bill initially failed in the Senate earlier this year before a compromise was reached specifying the intent of the amendment. Republicans had concerns about possible impacts to abortion funding, private sector wages and services offered to just one sex.
Longhurst expects the House to take its vote in January and should it pass there and in the Senate again, she says it will send an important message.
“It says we value women’s equality and we value Delaware where men and women are on an equal playing field. And that’s a key message for the state legislature to send,” said Longhurst.
Longhurst adds her daughter and her twin sister will be there for the vote when it happens.