Del. lawmakers put equal rights in the spotlight

DOVER, Del. – Lawmakers past and present came together to discuss a move to change Delaware’s Constitution , one that makes it clear — men and women are equal.

“The time is up. The time has come. We’re going to get it done today,” exclaims Gov. John Carney.

Impassioned legislators, advocates, and others filling up the Delaware’s Public Archives Thursday for a conversation 47 years in the making.

“Women have never been specifically named in the Constitution and by saying on account of sex, we will make sure it’s clear that it’s men and women and the intention is for equality for both,” says Rep. Ruth Briggs King.

Now lawmakers are setting out to change that, to bring equal rights for women back into the spot light in 2019.

Sen. Valerie Longhurst tells 47 ABC, “I’m doing this for my daughter and I’m doing it for the future generation of women and we have to continue to move the conversation to move that bar for women. We can’t just stop today.”

But before looking to the future, women in leadership are looking back to honor the trailblazing legislators in 1972 who ratified the federal Equal Rights Amendment.
A move that didn’t change the state’s Constitution, but offered a much needed resolution.

Briggs King adds, “I think it’s a very humbling experience but is one also very much a reminder. I was telling a colleague when I first graduated college I couldn’t get my own student loan or credit card because I was a woman and you couldn’t do that.”

From then to now, women have come a long way but many say women still aren’t where they need to be. Although with new leadership in Legislative Hall this year, more strides can be made.

Longhurst saying, “We have a more diverse caucus and General Assembly this year than we’ve ever had and we’re moving in the right direction. We just need the voices and the people to keep speaking out to move that conversation.”

Lawmakers have already introduced House Bill 1 for 2019, which is the final leg of the ERA that would provide equal rights on the basis of sex to Delaware’s Constitution.

We’re told many legislators are in favor of this newly proposed bill, but not everyone thinks it’s necessary to amend the state’s Constitution.

Categories: Check It Out, Delaware, Local Politics