Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate finally renewed the Violence Against Women Act—and kept provisions that provided funds for LGBT victims of domestic violence. But on Friday House Republicans put forth their own version that stripped those protections, reports Talking Points Memo.
“This is simply unacceptable and it further demonstrates that Republicans in the House have not heard the message sent by the American people,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who co-authored the Senate version. (It passed 78-22, with all female senators—regardless of party affiliation—voting for it.)
VAWA was first passed in 1994, thanks to then-senator Joe Biden. In addition to providing resources to domestic-abuse groups, it declared that a woman’s past sexual history couldn’t be used against her in a sexual-assault trial, and that women shouldn’t be forced to pay for their own protection or rape exam.
The new House bill stiffs gay victims, as well as illegal immigrants and Native American women, who can find themselves without recourse if their attacker is not a member of their tribe.
President Obama thought enough of VAWA that he mentioned it in his recent State of the Union address: “We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence.”
That’s probably what spelled the Senate bill’s doom—those House Republicans will kill anything President Obama even looks at.
The House version of VAWA comes before committee tomorrow.