Letter: Buta Biberaj, Leesburg

Editor: Loudoun Board failed Loudoun County residents by refusing to include the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in its state legislative agenda.

The ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment is necessary to make the U.S.  Constitution conform with the promise of “Equal Justice Under the Law.” If Virginia were to ratify the ERA, it will enhance the dignity of our residents by proclaiming equality of women and men under the law in perpetuity. It will provide broad protection of women and men against gender discrimination. It is not a partisan issue. It is not a symbolic act. It is a Loudoun County issue because it is a quality of life and safety issue.

At the meeting on Sept. 20, 2018, the Board of Supervisors voted  5-1-1-2 not to include the Equal Rights Amendment in its agenda. Supervisors Buffington (Blue Ridge), Higgins (Catoctin), Buona (Ashburn), Umstattd (Leesburg), and Letourneau (Dulles) voted not to include it; with Chair Randall (At-Large) opposed; Meyer, Jr. (Broad Run) abstained; and Volpe (Algonkian) and Saines (Sterling) were absent.

The reasons given for a vote of “no” included statements such as: adopting a position on the ERA would open the board to debating any number of issues not particular to Loudoun;. the ERA is not an issue for Loudoun’s legislative agenda; and, the board should be focused on things that the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors can directly affect.

Loudoun County residents should not allow this issue to be dismissed by the board. First, the ERA is “particular to Loudoun.” Loudoun County residents are victims of and, thus injured by gender discrimination, e.g., unequal treatment based on gender includes disparate salaries, unequal career advancement opportunities and variations in the law related to gender based protection from violence. The belief that the ERA is not something “that board can directly affect” represents a very unenlightened and limiting perspective. The spirit of Loudoun County should not be “we don’t act because we don’t think we will succeed.” Loudoun County succeeds because we act.

The ERA is not new law. It buttresses existing laws, and amendments in state constitutions.  Specifically, Virginia Constitution Article I, §11 (1971), states: “That no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts; and that the right to be free from any governmental discrimination upon the basis of religious conviction, race, color, sex, or national origin shall not be abridged…”

Only a federal Equal Rights Amendment can provide U.S. citizens, women and men, with the highest and broadest level of legal protection against gender discrimination.

To the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors: include the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the state legislative agenda.

To the Loudoun County residents: contact your representative on the Board of Supervisors and your representatives in Richmond, to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Buta Biberaj, Leesburg


3 thoughts on “Letter: Buta Biberaj, Leesburg

  • 2018-09-28 at 11:41 am

    How ’bout the BOS concentrate on alleviating Loudoun’s horrendous traffic congestion first.

  • 2018-09-29 at 8:16 am

    How ’bout actually watching the meeting. There was more going on, than a vote count. For example, Supervisor Umstattd, twice, yes TWICE, made a motion that the legislative package being voted on, be worded to allow for the ERA amendment to be included. Yes, INCLUDED. And twice, yes TWICE, Chair Randell refused to allow those motions to be voted on. Chair Randell blocked both motions. Where does the letter writer above point that out? Chair Randell should be ashamed of herself for her conduct. And I think it only fair for those who write letters to the editor in this, or any other newspaper, to be subject to a standard of actually taking the time to know the facts that they write about. An opinion is an opinion. But a false statement, or incomplete statement, of the situation, is just plain wrong.

  • 2018-10-03 at 2:36 pm

    I agree. It is high time the unequal treatment accorded to men in this county, country, and world stops. Men have fought and died for centuries fighting our battles and policing our criminals. Men die younger then women and commit suicide at 2 to 3 times the rate of the fairer sex. Men are incarcerated at a far higher rate than women. Men occupy all of the most dangerous and hardworking professions from electrical linemen, lumberjacks to fishermen, construction workers, landscapers, garbage men. Women now dominate colleges 60 to 40%. Women take none of the risks in a dating relationship, marriage or pregnancy. Divorced husbands lose rights to their children and have to pay alimony or go to jail. Men have no say in abortions but are responsible for its cost or that of any child although the women have no obligation to even tell them they have fathered a child. Perhaps a one day man-strike would enlighten women? Or how about men sit at home while women do all the soldiering, sailing and policing for a while? Let’s say until the body count of women in these fields reaches that of men in say the last 50 years? Don’t like that? Okay, cut it in half. How about we let out of prison all of the men so the numbers of incarcerated men equals that of women? If transgenders should be able to access any bathroom then men clearly need access to women’s bathrooms. Why? Because its then equal. And shouldn’t transgenders also achieve equality in everything …. and don’t worry that won’t encourage more to come forward from the less than 1/2% who make up this poplulace? Since women live longer then men I think men should pay lower taxes their whole life to make up for that life difference. Also, since men have done all the hard work forever I think they should have the option to stay at home and raise the children and get paid for it.

    Obviously this is absurd but what is even more absurd is the idea that life can ever be made equal or that men and women are equal. The truth is we both have roles that nature suited us to play. We should give people equal opportunity and based on merit they will achieve their own just reward. But demanding equality replaces liberty and freedom with tyranny.

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