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Charlottesville League of Women Voters celebrate ERA ratification

This story was originally published by CBS 19 News.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Now that Virginia is officially the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment supporters are focusing on getting the issue in federal court and pushing Congress to cancel the deadline.

Groups like the League of Women Voters have been advocating for this for decades. 

Pat Cochran, Megan Tracy, and Kate Bird celebrated the final ratification of the ERA on the Downtown Mall at Tilman’s, one of their favorite spots to hold events for the League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area.

The accomplishment is an emotional moment for Cochran. In 1992 she became a widow.

"I could not put my hands on my husband's will at the time,” said Cochran. “And because of that, I had to go to court and provide three witnesses that I was a competent guardian of my two children."

Cochran said if the ERA was amended decades earlier when Congress first passed it in 1972, she would not have had to go through that painful moment in her life.

"If I had died my husband would not have had to do that," said Cochran.

Megan Tracy said this is Virginia turning over a new leaf.

"We've been on the wrong side of history a number of times,” said Tracy. “With the 19th amendment, we didn't ratify the women's right to vote until 1952. Long after it had already been ratified by enough states to make it a constitutional amendment. So many of us here in Virginia working on this issue feel that this is the moment for Virginia to shine."

Tracy said Virginians coming out to vote is what made this possible.

 

"This year people went for candidates who were actually going to do what the majority of voters wanted to do and the ERA was one of those issues," said Tracy

A goal of the ERA campaign was "Not one more genERAtion, “and Cochran said they finally reached that goal.

"For me, and my daughters, and my grandaughters I'm thrilled,” said Cochran.