Debate over Violence Against Women Act centers on the vulnerable
Demonstrators show their support for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act last summer at the Capitol.
January 4th, 2013
07:09 PM ET

Debate over Violence Against Women Act centers on the vulnerable

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Who in Congress doesn't want to pass a bill that helps protect women against acts of violence? No one, of course.

But the Violence Against Women Act, first passed in 1994 and reauthorized previously without fanfare, hit a snag this time around.

The hiccup in the bill involved groups of vulnerable people: Native Americans, immigrants and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT.

That’s the reason there was no consensus over a law that primarily provides support for organizations that serve domestic violence victims, said Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin, herself a rape victim.

"The violence Against Women Act has always been bipartisan, but this time, because of best practices from advocates, from people in law enforcement, they saw the need to expand this to communities of color, to Native Americans, to the LGBT community and young women who needed protection on campuses," Moore said.

The differences over provisions affecting native, immigrant and LGBT women led to separate bills in the House and Senate. No compromise was reached. Time ran out and the Violence Against Women Act was not reauthorized.

"It’s a shame that we’re at this point," Moore said. "Certainly we’re very concerned about whether or not we’re going to have these particular communities ignored."

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women said it was deeply disappointed that a final bill could not be agreed upon.

"The U.S. House of Representatives continued to voice strong opposition to offering basic protections to certain vulnerable populations," the task force said.

What happened? FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • Immigration • Native Americans • Women