U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement after the Senate-passed reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act cleared the House of Representatives. The bill, which includes additional protections for women and families, was held up by House Republicans who attempted to strip the additional protections for LGBT and Native women.
"Today's passage of the Violence Against Women Act is a long overdue victory for women and children in New Mexico. I'm grateful for the tireless efforts of organizations and advocates across our state; because of their hard work, New Mexico's communities are safer and stronger.
"All people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background should have the same right to live free from domestic and sexual violence. This bill will strengthen and streamline crucial existing programs, and build on existing efforts to effectively combat violence against all victims, including strengthening and expanding protections for the LGBT and immigrant communities. This is also a tremendous victory for New Mexico's tribal communities. Native women will now have the protection and access to justice they need in order to keep themselves and their families safe."