House VAWA excludes LGBT victims

The U.S. House is expected to begin debate Wednesday (February 27) on a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act but one that, once again, eliminates language to ensure that victims of domestic violence can receive assistance from federally funded program regardless of their sexual orientation.

The White House and Democratic leaders in the House expressed their disappointment Tuesday about the exclusion of LGBT provisions and others, including Native Americans and immigrants.

“The Administration is disappointed that the House bill does not … explicitly protect LGBT victims of crime from discrimination when they seek services or protections funded by VAWA,” said a White House statement.

An unidentified aide to a House Republican leader told a Washington Post blog last Friday (February 22) that the bill does not discriminate against LGBT people. The aide criticized the Senate version of the bill for “enumerating actual categories of people that are covered” in a way that “requires constant updating.”

“We’re giving the states the resources they need, and we’re also making sure no one is discriminated against,” said the aide. He did not explain how the House version ensures no one is discriminated against.

The House convenes at noon eastern daylight time.


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