Heard on the Hill

Alyssa Milano, Patricia Arquette boost Equal Rights Amendment on the Hill

Actresses join lawmakers in push to revive amendment, which has been stalled for decades

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., left, hugs actress Patricia Arquette during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been a politics-heavy week for actress Alyssa Milano. A day after she launched her new podcast with Joe Biden as a guest, she headed to Capitol Hill to reignite momentum behind the Equal Rights Amendment.

The “Insatiable” and “Who’s the Boss?” star donned head-to-toe white to honor the history of women’s rights as she attended a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting on the stalled constitutional amendment — the first congressional hearing on the topic in 36 years.

Actress Patricia Arquette was another famous face making the case on Tuesday for the amendment, which would guarantee gender equality for women and men.

“Women’s protections cannot be left to interpretation alone,” the “Lost Highway” star said in passionate testimony, citing the position of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who believed that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment doesn’t guard against gender discrimination.

The Academy Award-winning actress has been an advocate for equal rights for years, using her 2015 Oscars acceptance speech to drive home her message. “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights, it’s our time to have wage-equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” she said as she accepted her golden statuette.

UNITED STATES - APRIL 30: Actress Alyssa Milano, using live twitter video, speaks with ERA activists waiting to enter the House Judiciary Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Actress Alyssa Milano, using live Twitter video, speaks with ERA activists waiting to enter the hearing on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As for Milano, she’s been a pivotal voice in the #MeToo movement, a role she aims to reprise with her new “Sorry Not Sorry” podcast. The first episode, which tackles sexual assault, features presidential candidate Biden. The two sat down for the interview before recent allegations that he groped women surfaced.

Milano has doubled down on her friendship with the former vice president, saying, “I’m proud to call Joe Biden a friend. He’s been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years.”

Among those joining Arquette and Milano in “suffragette white” on Tuesday was Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, who has sponsored legislation to restart the Equal Rights Amendment ratification process. She completed her outfit with an “ERA” button.  Rep. Jackie Speier, who skipped the white, was also in attendance. She has introduced a bill to remove the deadline for ratifying the ERA.

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