The United States Senate has passed a resolution introduced by Senator Patty Murray from Washington to "immediately eliminate gender pay inequity and treat all athletes with the same respect and dignity."
Murray introduced the legislation in May and it passed today according to the Huffington Post.
The resolution cites increased participation of girls in soccer, USSF's work to improve the game, the WNT's numerous titles, and the historical and continuing trend of unequal pay on the basis of gender in the United States, not just in sports.
This is a simple or nonbinding resolution, which "are used to express nonbinding positions of the Senate or to deal with the Senate's internal affairs, such as the creation of a special committee."
Essentially the Senate has lent its support to the WNT in their fight against US Soccer on the very day the two parties' lawyers made oral arguments in court in Chicago.
I just left court after hearing oral arguments in lawsuit involving #USSF and #USWNT, court has reserved ruling. No date given.— James Vlahakis (@jvlaha) May 26, 2016
The WNT has made a series of smart PR moves in their fight against USSF, separate from the legal maneuverings involved. If this situation were to be decided solely on the basis of public opinion, the WNT might find themselves with a win on their hands. As it stands, their case could end up having a trial date set before the Olympics.
Just left hearing. Judge most likely will deny both sides motions for summary judgment and have a trial before the olympics #USSF vs #USWNT— James Vlahakis (@jvlaha) May 26, 2016
The battle they're waging in the public eye is ahead of the one taking place in the courts, and it remains to be seen how they plan to transition support from the former to support for the latter. At the very least, there's widespread awareness about the issue now, with not just the Senate, but TV shows like The Daily Show addressing the problem. In the event that the team does strike, they've positioned themselves quite sympathetically to perhaps pressure US Soccer into a quick resolution.
So what's next? Well the WNT will play Japan in two friendlies on June 2 and June 5 then return to their NWSL clubs until July, and then we wait. If there's anything sports fans are good at, it's being patient and waiting for more information, right?