After months of back-and-forth, both arms of Congress have finally reauthorized a version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that doesn’t purposefully exclude people on the basis of their ethnicity, immigration status, or sexual orientation. The inclusive version, which passed the Senate 78 to 22 earlier last month, passed the House in a 286-to-138 vote on Thursday. Like the Senate passage, all 138 votes against the bill came from Republicans.
A victory belated is still a victory, and women’s rights advocates are celebrating while they can. “Today Congress stepped up and sent a clear message: protecting women and families from domestic violence is not a political issue,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, in an email release. “The incredible efforts of our Senate Democratic women, along with the leadership of Representatives Slaughter and Moore in the House, broke the Republican stalemate to make sure women will have the protection from violence they deserve. No longer will women be discriminated against based on where they may live or who they may love.”
As Erin Matson noted earlier, the reauthorization of VAWA came on the last day of Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month. Thanks to the newly reauthorized, all-inclusive VAWA, many programs addressing intimate partner violence will continue to exist.