WASHINGTON - Sen. Dick Durbin made his Hollywood debut recently portraying a senator chairing a hearing in a forthcoming film called "Contagion."
Durbin, D-Ill., brought Hollywood to Washington this afternoon while chairing a real hearing, one in which actor Geena Davis and others testified on behalf of ratifying a long-delayed treaty to protect women.
The treaty is referred to as CEDAW, which stands for Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
It was negotiated by Jimmy Carter 31 years ago and most countries have ratified it.
But the United States remains an outlier -- along with several countries infamous for anti-women policies -- and the treaty is likely to remain unratified in this country for the forseeable future.
Why? The last time a ratification effort began, during the Bush administration in 2002, anti-abortion and pro-family groups organized against it, calling CEDAW "the Equal Rights Amendment on steroids."
Opponents argued that it would force the United States to submit to international law and "push women into the workplace."
Prior to a hearing underway now, Durbin, speaking with reporters alongside Davis, acknowledged that ratification was unlikely given that it would require 67 senators voting aye.
But Durbin said he felt it was necessary to keep the discussion alive and to hear testimony about discrimination and abuse suffered by women around the world.
Durbin spoke of some of the other countries that haven't ratified CEDAW: "Look at the company we're keeping -- Iran, Somalia and Sudan ... Atrocities are committed against women and young girls around the world every day. If we want to speak with moral authority, let us ratify this treaty."
Echoed Davis: "Let us not stand with these countries another day."