Prominent women's groups are calling the U.S. House Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act homophobic, antivictim, racist, and elitist, reports Politico. Opponents of the GOP bill say the law needs special protection for gay, immigrant, and Native American victims. Republicans say VAWA should deal squarely with the issue of violence against women regardless of their ethnicity or sexuality, noting that their legislation doesn't weaken protection for any segment of the population.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence sent a sharply worded letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-MI), that called the legislation “an anti-victim bill that promotes a racist, elitist and homophobic agenda.” A coalition staff member decided not to attend a meeting yesterday with committee staff members when she heard Republicans were angry about the letter. “It is disappointing that what has always been a bipartisan issue has turned into partisan election year politics,” said Lisa Boothe, a GOP spokeswoman. The legislation is set to be marked up in committee next week