View From the Left: The Violence Against Women Act - Who are Republicans Leaving Behind?

Republicans say they'll vote for it, as long as gay spouses, undocumented immigrants and Native Americans are left out

The Violence Against Women Act, a law that funds programs to investigate and prosecute domestic and physical abuse crimes against women, has had broad bipartisan support in Congress since its passage in 1994. Since then, Republicans and Democrats alike have continually given the thumbs up to keep funding the program that helps protect women. In 2012? That's a whole different story.

GOP lawmakers had a major change of heart last week on the VAWA. Republican Seantor Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has chided her GOP counterparts that they are in danger of being defined as the anti-woman party, in light of the fight against contraceptives and this move against the VAWA. Every Republican woman in the Senate supported the version that would extend the law's protections to undocumented women immigrants, gay, lesbian and transgender victims of domestic abuse and Native Americans. But GOP members of the House of Representatives had other ideas.

The good news is that both the Senate and the House of Representatives voted to extend funding for the law, but the House stripped language that would have given its protection to those additional groups. Why? Opponents claim those women already are covered by the current law as written. But even if that's true, the optics of this are bad for Republicans, because it continues the current 'war against women' discussion -- one the GOP needs to put to rest, especially since it makes Republicans look like they're only concerned about spousal abuse in the setting of "traditional" marriages.

President Obama says he will veto any VAWA reauthorization that doesn't include the language removed by House Republicans.

You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestseller Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

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