Senate Gets VAWA Right

Article excerpt

Byline: The Register-Guard

Shrugging off a presidential veto threat and the prospect of alienating even more female voters, House Republicans on Wednesday passed a version of the Violence Against Women Act that removes domestic violence protections for immigrants, Native Americans, and gays and lesbians.

That's lousy politics for a party that hopes to recapture the White House and control of the Senate this fall. It's also morally indefensible.

VAWA was first enacted in 1994 with overwhelming bipartisan support. Authored by then-Sen. Joe Biden, the legislation dedicated federal resources to assist victims of domestic abuse. Congress has renewed the act twice, expanding its reach to include protections for older victims, disabled individuals, and teen victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

It's a landmark law that truly has made a difference. Since it was approved, the annual incidence of domestic violence has decreased by more than 50 percent. But there is still a strong need for the bill. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study last year found that 24 people per minute in this country are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by intimate partners.

House Republicans oppose a Senate- approved version of VAWA that includes provisions extending protections to gays and lesbians, transgendered people, and Native American and immigrant women. …