Monday, February 11, 2013

VAWA (Again) on the Ropes?

It's back. It's here. It's about to get killed again?

Not that long ago, the Violence Against Women Act was not considered "controversial". Yet ever since the rise of the "tea party", that's changed. And believe it or not, teabaggers are now claiming men are "the real victims" as they lead the charge (again) against VAWA!

Heritage Action is scoring VAWA as a “key vote” in determining a lawmaker’s conservative credentials.

Claiming that the reauthorization would expand the definition of domestic violence to include “emotional distress,” Heritage declared that the “expansive and vague language will increase fraud and false allegations, for which there is no legal recourse.”

“Under VAWA, men effectively lose their constitutional rights to due process, presumption of innocence, equal treatment under the law, the right to a fair trial and to confront one’s accusers, the right to bear arms, and all custody/visitation rights,” the group wrote. “It is unprecedented, unnecessary and dangerous.

Of course, these charges are ludicrous. However, they're not exactly falling on deaf ears. Even as the Senate rejected a G-O-TEA backed amendment to gut LGBTQ women, Native American women, and even women in general (!!!) from its VAWA reauthorization, some House Republicans keep complaining about the inclusive nature of the Senate bill. And even as the Senate bill has 62 sponsors and looks set to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support this week, its fate in the (Mad) House remains uncertain.

Last year, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) was part of the G-O-TEA faction that blocked VAWA renewal. But this year, he and other House Republicans will be under immense pressure to change their tune. After all, Mitt Romney was crushed with women voters last fall. And several Republican Congressional candidates across the country lost due to their championing of "The War on Women". Here in Nevada, Dean Heller faced a very close call in an election that prominently featured women's rights. And he's now sponsoring Senate VAWA renewal.

So do House Republicans still want to be known as "culture warriors" who care more about extreme and fringe ideology than real women's lives? Or are they ready to change?

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