In what could help reduce tension in the House of Representatives over the now expired Violence Against Women Act, House Republican leaders said on Tuesday that they would allow a vote on the recently bipartisan passed Senate bill.
The legislation is also inclusive of lesbian women.
By allowing the House to vote on the Senate version of the 1994 Act, it is likely to ensure battles in government don’t take place after the Republicans had been pushing a more limited version of the bill.
The bill, co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy and other Democrats, and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), passed on a 78-22 vote. Many are praising legislators for their robust show of bipartisan action, including President Obama.
“This important step shows what we can do when we come together across party lines to take up a just cause,” Obama said.
“The bill passed by the Senate will help reduce homicides that occur from domestic violence, improve the criminal justice response to rape and sexual assault, address the high rates of dating violence experienced by young women, and provide justice to the most vulnerable among us.”
VAWA provides state and local authorities with grants that effectively serve millions of women across the United States. Now LGBT individuals could be included in the bill’s success thanks to three key provision revisions.
Alli McCracken, National Organizer at Codepink in Washington, told 429Magazine after the Senate vote that “you can’t have an actor that denounces violence against women without including all women. That includes women who are a part of the LGBTQ community, with a particular emphasis on the Q.”
“Republicans are against [the VAWA]because of the provisions for Native Americans and LGBT people. It’s shocking how blatant representatives are against minorities,” McCracken said.
LGBT individuals face domestic violence rates at about the same levels as heterosexual women (roughly 25 percent). Passing the LGBT-inclusive version of the VAWA would ensure that these individuals have access to resources.