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Queer Talk: LGBT Protections Stripped from VAWA by House Republicans

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Earlier this month, the Violence Against Women Act was passed by the Senate, 78 to 22. According to a HuffPo report, the bill had 62 cosponsors, and actually picked up “additional support from a handful of Republicans.”

So, the next move was in the House, and yesterday, February 22, the House Republicans once again revealed their, what, disdain for women? Or at least for women of certain groups. Whatever it is, they removed protections for women who are lesbian, bisexual and transgender, and to a lesser but still significant extent, for Native American women.

At the end of 2012, VAWA expired because House Republicans wouldn’t accept protections in the Senate bill for LGBT, Native American, and undocumented victims.

And here we go again. Jennifer Bendery, at HuffPo:

The GOP proposal was posted on the House Rules Committee website with little fanfare, along with an announcement that the committee will begin moving the bill forward in a Tuesday hearing. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will sponsor the bill … .

The … 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.

Another difference from the Senate bill is in how Native Americans are treated.

Under the Senate bill, tribal courts would gain new authority to prosecute non-Native American men who abuse Native American women on reservations. The House bill also grants that new authority … but adds a caveat that would allow those people to move their case to a federal court if they feel their constitutional rights aren’t being upheld.

Someone identified as a “House GOP leadership aide” said that LGBT victims are, in fact, protected. Bendery has the quote:

‘The House bill protects all people from discrimination. … The Senate bill continues to add people to an enumerated list, therefore excluding those categories not on the list and requiring constant updating. The House bill also allows states, through which VAWA grants flow, to determine the best recipients of those funds, based on the victim populations in their areas.’

And given that in most states sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected “populations,” I wonder how this would work out?

Aviva Shen, at Think Progress has this response to the House GOP bill: (emphasis added)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a chief advocate for VAWA in the Senate, blasted the House bill as a ‘non-starter’ and called for moderate Republicans to take action: ‘It’s not a compromise, it’s an unfortunate effort to exclude specific groups of women from receiving basic protections under the law… The protections included in the Senate for new communities of women are not bargaining chips that can be played with in order to appease the far right in their party. These are badly needed new tools to give women an escape from a life stunted by abuse…It’s time for moderate Republicans in the House to step up and finally force their leadership to stop ignoring the calls of women across the country.

Well said, Sen. Murray.

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5 Responses to Queer Talk: LGBT Protections Stripped from VAWA by House Republicans

  1. secularhumanizinevoluter February 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Gosh…what a surprise. NOT! But then this is just another glaring example of the equivalency between the two parties as often voiced by some marshians here…the Dems and repug/baggers are just the same after all.

    • Cujo359 February 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      No difference that’s worth very much, I’d say. The Democrats and any Republicans who agree might be able to pass this bill, but I see little reason to think that they’re going to expend much effort enforcing it on the reservations. One of the many similarities the last two administrations have demonstrated is their unwillingness to enforce laws that aren’t convenient for them.

      Meanwhile, the economic policies that are getting worse will continue, and our permanent state of depression will continue. We’ll continue to see something in the neighborhood of twenty percent disemployment, and all the violence and hatred that tends to increase under such conditions. That “violence” and “hatred” includes the violence and all that racism that the GOP is supposedly supporting.

      The only difference is that Democrats don’t care about racism – at least, they don’t care enough to deal with its root causes. They just pass laws saying you can’t do that anymore, then help cut the budget so no one can enforce them.

      So they passed a law saying you can’t be violent toward women any longer. The work of progressives is done.

  2. Cujo359 February 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Well, I seem to remember commenting about this in an earlier thread, and of course, being accused once again of ignoring the mortal threat of the GOP and being against all things decent and normal, so let me say it again:

    Of perhaps more immediate concern is that the House has shown no sign of being willing to pass the act. If the numbers are similar to those in the Senate, then VAWA reauthorization would pass in the House, too.

    So, if you happen to live in a district represented by a Republican, it might be a good idea to let him (or her) know that you want the Senate version of the VAWA passed.

    That’s another thing Republicans and Democrats have in common – they usually show no sign of giving a crap what we think, but every once in a while they do.

  3. Joyce Arnold February 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    My take, as always, is that the Duopoly requires competing parties. There has to be an “us vs. them” framing for the status quo System to exist, and to function. So, there are some differences. But, those are set within the restrictions and limitations of what, from my perspective, amounts to an oligarchy, with “corporate parties” coming in “lesser of two evils” flavors, but each dependent on and beholden to the same tiny group of people at the top. Plus you have to factor in the persistent slide to the Right.

    Also as always, differing perspectives are fine with me.

  4. secularhumanizinevoluter February 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    “No difference that’s worth very much, I’d say.”
    Hmmmm…the Senate with a majority Dems passed the version WITH LGBT Protections and native American Protections…the repugnantKLAN/teabagging RACIST House(check the clown that said Whites couldn’t get a fair trial from Native Americans) yeah…you’re right…no discernible difference, none what so ever.

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