Obama Signs Law for Women's Equal Pay

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CBNNews.com -  With a stroke of his pen, Thursday, President Obama made it easier for women to fight for equal pay for equal work.

Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, this morning, his first bill signing since taking office.

"It is a family issue, not just a women's issue," Obama said at the signing ceremony.

"Making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone," he said.

Seventy-year-old Lilly Ledbetter became a voice for women's equal pay rights when she sued her former employer, Goodyear, for paying her less than her male colleagues for 19 years.

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that she missed her chance to regain the almost $200,000 she lost during her career because of the pay discrimination., The Court also denied her the pension and Social Security benefit losses.

The court said that any discrimination claim must be filed within 180 days of the first discriminatory pay check.

"I was initially humiliated. I felt degraded," she said of her feelings after the Supreme Court decision.

Ledbetter stood at President Obama's side as he signed the bill, nullifying the 2007 Supreme Court decision.

"I have spent the past two years since the Supreme Court's decision in my case fighting for equal pay for this day," Ledbetter later said at a reception. "But to watch you sign a bill that bears my name, the bill that will help women and others fight pay discrimination in the workplace, is truly overwhelming."

Under the new law, every new discriminatory paycheck would extend the statute of limitations for another 180 days.

Obama said the bill was an important step but only the beginning of equal pay reform.

"I know that if we stay focused, as Lilly did, and keep standing for what's right, as Lilly did," he said, "we will close that pay gap and ensure that our daughters have the same rights, the same chances, and the same freedom to pursue their dreams as our sons."

Ledbetter also wants to see equal rights for future generations.

"I know that my daughter and granddaughters, and your daughters and your granddaughters, will have a better deal," she said. "That's what makes this fight worth fighting. That's what made this fight one we had to win."

Sources: The Associated Press, ABC News

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