The United States Senate Tuesday in a 78-22 vote re-passed an amended Violence Against women Act (VAWA) and sent it to the House of Representatives for re-passage there. The bill has 62 co-sponsors among the 78 Senators who voted in favor of the legislation first passed into law in 1994.
The big issue in the present bill is that the law now extends protection for victims of sexual violence to members of the LGBT community. The most conservative Republicans in both houses are trying to signal their opposition to gay rights in general which in most cases is based on the Christian Bible as they interpret it and not U.S. law. The law also extends more direct aid to indigenous Native-American women who are on reservations and are victims of sexual crimes and abuse when fully 70% of the perpetrators come from outside the Native-American community as it is.
“It is difficult to understand why people would come in here and try to limit which victims could be helped by this legislation, “said Senator Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) the sponsor of the bill. “If you’re the victim you don’t want to think that a lot of us who have never faced this kind of problem, sat here in this body and said ‘well we have to differentiate which victims America will protect.”
Leahy is spot in with his observation about the opposition. This bill is not about endorsing the gay rights agenda or sexual orientation from a moral, biblical, or even in regard to other laws currently in force that deal with extending rights to people to freely have their sexual orientation be equal to any other.
Of course Struggles for Justice takes the principled stand that all Americans no matter what their sexual orientation is ought not to be discriminated against in any fashion due to that orientation. We applaud the Senate for passing the bill.
VAWA protects American women first of all who are the victims of violence. The bill’s extension to LGBT people only is an extension so that they could be made whole in law as the victim of a crime and not the advocate for any particular sexual orientation. It is simply put a matter of the fact that gay people can and are victims of sexually related violence like anybody else and as law abiding American citizens ought to receive equal treatment under the law—certainly as victims of a crime. They are not perpetrating anything.
We wonder if the Twenty-two Republicans understand the concept of a “victim” in relation to criminal acts that injure others. They are all people who are the victims of crime and not the criminals. What is there not to understand about this unless it is by people who intentionally misunderstand it!
Marco Rubio, the Republican Savior and star making his first response to a President’s State of the Union address later the same evening was one of the 22 who voted NO.
Here is the dishonor role of Republicans who voted against a bill that grants $659 million over a five-year span to assist victims of violent criminal acts. All these folks are American citizens or are here with us in the United States and are otherwise law abiding. The entire opposition was Republicans. Not a single Democrat voted NO on VAWA:
John Barrasso (Wyo), Roy Blunt (Mo., John Boozman (Ark) Tom Coburn (Okla., John Cronyn (Texas, Ted Cruz (Texas, Mike Anzi (Wyo), Lindsay Graham S.C., Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James Inhoffe (Okla.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wisc), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), “Ayn” Rand Paul (Ky.) Jim Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kansas), Marco Rubio, (Fla.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Jeff Thune (N.D.) and Tim Scott (S.C).
The demographic makeup of the opposition is that they are all men—not a single woman senator voted nay in either party—and with the exception of arch-conservative Latino (Cuban-Americans) Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and the new conservative handpicked and massaged black Senator from South Carolina Tim Scott—they were all white. That is 19 of 22 were white men who stand in opposition to this bill. And narly every one of them come from states in the old Confederacy or from Western or Plains states with few gay men and women or even racial minorities.
It will be even more dramatic demographically with the Republican and admittedly a few Democrats perhaps in the House.
So shame on Macro Rubio and Ted Cruz and Tim Scott who as members of a marginalized minority group should understand discrimination much more personally than they do, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin shame on you. We’re better than that here in the Badger State.