February 23, 2013

House Republicans Continue War on Women And LGBT Community

The dome of the US Capitol

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big supporter of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and have written about it before. VAWA allocates federal dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute violent crimes against women. The law was in effect from 1994 to 2012, and it was routinely renewed on a bipartisan basis with little debate, until this past year.

When the US Senate drafted the reauthorization bill in 2012, they broadened the scope of the law to include minority groups who are often the targets of violent crime. Among the minority groups included are Native American women, undocumented immigrants, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals.

The bill was passed in the US Senate in 2012, and it died because Republicans in the House objected to the broader scope. The US Senate passed the bill again on February 13th, 2013, and the GOP is standing in the way again.

House Republicans will not adopt the bill in its current form, and they plan on gutting the bill and eliminating any extra protections that the Senate version provides. The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery saw the new House proposed VAWA. She writes:

A cursory look at the bill reveals some notable changes from the bipartisan VAWA bill that cleared the Senate last week.
The House GOP bill entirely leaves out provisions aimed at helping LGBT victims of domestic violence. Specifically, the bill removes "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from the list of underserved populations who face barriers to accessing victim services, thereby disqualifying LGBT victims from a related grant program. The bill also eliminates a requirement in the Senate bill that programs that receive funding under VAWA provide services regardless of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, the bill excludes the LGBT community from the STOP program, the largest VAWA grant program, which gives funds to care providers who work with law enforcement officials to address domestic violence.
The Republican party has always made it clear that they don’t like the LGBT community, and they don’t care if we are bullied, and they don’t care if we experience discrimination, and they don’t care about our relationships, and they don’t care if we are relegated to second class status. Now we can say that the GOP doesn’t care if we are beat up, or if we’re victims of violence - domestic or otherwise.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said "House Republicans just can’t help themselves. Even with a strong, bipartisan bill passed by the Senate for the second Congress in a row, even with countless women in need of support and protection, Republicans are still turning the Violence Against Women Act into a partisan political football."




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