April 25, 2012
“The LGBT community sees it as a resource for LGBT victims of domestic abuse. In 2010, programs serving LGBT people who were abused by their domestic partners or other intimate partners recorded 5,052 reports of such abuse. Almost 45 percent of these victims reported being turned away by other groups helping domestic violence victims.
“Yet new language seeking to prohibit domestic violence groups from turning away LGBT people is one of the three provisions Republicans in Congress are reportedly objecting to in this year’s reauthorization bill. The Republican leadership in the Senate complained that the new iteration of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is expanding the law to help gay men, lesbians, and immigrants. They say the expansion is essentially a cash cow for women’s and gay groups to obtain federal grants toserve their constituents….
“Up until this year, VAWA has been non-controversial, but the last reauthorization of the bill, in 2005, did not include any stipulation that services should not be denied based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” The current reauthorization bill (S. 1925) does. It notes that “underserved populations” include populations underserved because of sexual orientation and gender identity. This year, the controversy has threatened to derail reauthorization, but the partisan tug-of-war over women voters may well pressure both sides to ensure the legislation is reauthorized.”