Celebrating the Passage of VAWA
Yesterday, we celebrated the passage of the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) following the failure of the partisan and discriminatory proposal put forth this week by House Republicans. With House Democrats pushing for a stronger, more comprehensive reauthorization, the Senate's version passed the House by a vote of 286-138, extending the law's crucial protections to LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims, providing for more rape kits as well as a national registry of forensic evidence from sexual assault cases, strengthening criminal anti-trafficking statutes, providing for temporary housing for victims, and addressing domestic violence on American college campuses.
The Violence Against Women Act has long ensured that no woman would ever be forced to suffer in silence in the face of domestic violence and abuse. Democrats were committed to keeping that promise -- that's why we led the charge to enact the strong, bipartisan Senate bill and secure a victory for all women, no matter their background or community. A bipartisan majority of the House joined the Senate in reaffirming our pledge to America's women and families, strengthening this landmark law, extending protection to LGBT Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants, and preserving the security of all women.
Working Together to End DOMA
Today, I was pleased to join 211 of my colleagues in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v. Edith Schlain Windsor, a landmark challenge to Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 defines marriage for purposes of federal law as "only a legal union between one man and one woman," excluding same-sex couples from all marriage-based federal responsibilities and rights.
These 212 Members decided to comment on this case because they want the Supreme Court to hear the full story from Congress, and to explain why they believe that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. They disagree with the arguments being made by lawyers, hired to defend DOMA in court by House Republicans, following the divided 3-2 vote of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG). The amicus brief filed today makes clear that BLAG does not speak for Congress, and that many members believe that Section 3 should be struck down because there simply is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the legal security, rights, and responsibilities that federal law provides to all other married couples. From state legislatures to the halls of Congress to the Supreme Court, we will continue our march toward marriage equality and progress for LGBT Americans. We will right a wrong of history and end a fundamental unfairness in our nation. We look forward to the day when all of America's families enjoy equal protection under the law.
Please feel free to forward this information to your family and friends. To learn more about these efforts, to express your views, or to sign up for email updates, please visit my website. I am also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NancyPelosi.
Member of Congress