Skip to Content

Press Release

Rep. Castor: Passage of Equal Rights Amendment and Violence Against Women Act Will Finally Provide Equal Justice Under the Law

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the following statement on House passage of H.J.Res. 17 to remove the arbitrary deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment and H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 (VAWA).


A photo can be found here.


“The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the inequities for women in the workplace and struggles at home at the hands of domestic abusers. And while the world mourns the death of Sarah Everard, a young woman who was murdered while walking home in London, and the United States grieves the killing of six Asian women in Georgia just last night, it is clear that violence against women persists and our laws do not adequately guard against it. The House passed two bills today to change that.


“After the House passed a historic and bipartisan VAWA reauthorization to advance justice, safety and dignity for America’s women in 2019, the GOP-led Senate shamefully blocked its passage. Now, a Democratic Senate and President Biden stand committed to strengthening VAWA and ensuring justice under the law -  in a course charted by the House of Representatives with the largest number of women serving in history.


“VAWA has allowed communities across America and local law enforcement agencies to coordinate their responses to violence against women and provide effective, long-term support for victims. The community initiatives funded by VAWA provide women, children and families vital protections against abuse and essential tools that help law enforcement combat gender-based violence. These resources are more critical than ever due to the spike in domestic violence rates during the coronavirus pandemic. I encourage the Senate to take up this legislation as soon as possible – local organizations in our Tampa community like The Spring of Tampa Bay are the light in the darkness of these devastating crimes, and Congress must send resources home to aid them in their lifesaving work.”


This latest robust and bipartisan long-term reauthorization improves the current law, including by: 

  • making vital new investments in prevention
  • strengthening essential protections for the most vulnerable, including immigrant, LGBTQ and Native American women and specifically supporting communities of color in a culturally-sensitive way
  • improving services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking
  • making improvements in the criminal justice response to gender-based violence and improving the health care system’s response to domestic violence
  • helping stop abusers and stalkers from obtaining firearms and
  • expanding protections for victims’ and survivors’ financial security, including housing protections and anti-discrimination protections in the workplace.


“Nearly 100 years ago, the Equal Rights Amendment was drafted, stating that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged.” Forty-five years ago, my mother argued passionately on the floor of the Florida legislature for its passage.  And today, this principle has still not been enshrined in the Constitution for women, despite passing both chambers of Congress with a super-majority vote. Today, the House passed a resolution to do away with the arbitrary deadline set for the ERA’s ratification that has stymied the 28th Amendment for far too long.


“There is overwhelming support for the ERA, with ratification by 38 states and support from over 94 percent of Americans. The 28th Amendment will allow additional avenues of legal recourse for people who face discrimination under the laws on the basis of sex, and ensuring that the Supreme Court applies the same standard of review for sex discrimination cases as it applies to cases of discrimination based on race and national origin. With the ERA, women will receive stronger legal protections against sexual assault, domestic violence, and pay discrimination.


“It is fitting that we should pass the ERA and VAWA on the same day, bringing us two steps closer to making women equal to men under the eyes of the law, at home, and in the workplace. It’s past time for basic and fundamental rights to be guaranteed for all Americans!”