President Obama Signs LGBT-Inclusive Violence Against Women Act Into Law

obama signingPresident Obama signed Senate Bill S.47, a.k.a. the Violence Against Women Act, into law today—complete with LGBT protections congressional Republicans had tried to strip out.

The bi-partisan version of the measure includes protections and program-funding for the gay community, undocumented immigrants and Native Americans.

“This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens,” the President remarks.

Obama signed the legislation at a White House ceremony alongside Vice President Joe Biden; VAWA sponsors Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mike Crapo (R- ID) and Susan Collins (R-ME); Attorney General Eric Holder; NYC Anti-Violence Project director Sharon Stapel and other lawmakers and advocates.

First enacted in 1994, the act aids victims of domestic violence, empowers law-enforcement officials to prosecute offenders and funds programs and services for survivors.

“President Obama has shown great leadership today in including LGBT survivors of violence in VAWA, our nation’s response to intimate partner and sexual violence,” said Stapel.  “I was proud to thank him and Vice President Biden for their work on behalf of LGBT people.  We are grateful to all of the advocates and survivors who worked so hard to make this inclusive bill a reality.”

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed the measure on February 28 by a vote of 286 to 138.