Yesterday (February 22), Republicans in the US House of Representative presented their version of the Violence Against Women Act. Gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence are not explicitly mentioned.
As reported by Talking Points Memo, the proposal stands in stark contrast to what the Senate passed on 12 February. That legislation comes with assurances that gays and lesbians, Native American women and immigrants will have equal access to the act’s anti-domestic violence programs.
The language in the House legislation says ‘adult and youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.’ Domestic violence advocates contend the GOP legislation leaves out protection for LGBT victims.
‘The bill does not protect LGBT victims from discrimination by a service provider nor does it specifically include services to LGBT victims as an underserved population,’ David Stacy, deputy legislative director for Human Rights Campaign, said to Talking Points Memo. ‘The Senate bill provisions are urgently needed so that actual resources are available to address domestic violence and sexual assault among LGBT families.’
An unnamed Republican aide disagrees with this interpretation.
‘We are not allowing anyone to be discriminated against,’ the aide said. ‘The difference is how we go about it. Our bill is broad. They’re enumerating actual categories of people that are covered.’
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the most senior Republican woman in the House. It will be fast-tracked for a possible vote next Tuesday (26 February).