Thursday, May 17, 2012

Domestic violence needs to be stopped

From a distance it can be difficult to understand what the current status is of a bill working its way through congress.  It can also be difficult to have a good understanding of the provisions of a bill and its impact on the issue.  Compromise, research, lobbying, the Constitution and many other things can all play a part in the final outcome.  What you can do is define the overriding issue and ask that the legislation address the issue in a clear way that is fair to all parties.

The Violence against Women Act is up for renewal, as it is every two years.  The Senate expanded the definition of those that could qualify for assistance to adjust to the change in domestic living arrangements in American society.  The House version doesn’t adjust and maintains the status quo.    

The Senate’s expansion in coverage recognizes that there are more same sex domestic partners in America.  It has been discovered that they are beginning to experience the same kind of problems that duel sex families face.  One of the members in the family can be an abuser and make life a living hell for the other.  The abused in same sex relationships can be just as trapped as others.  The Senate bill would allow the abused, no matter the legal relationship as long as they are domestic partners, to receive support to get out of the relationship while receiving protection from the abuser.  The House bill, as written at this moment, would not recognize the domestic arrangement.  The victim in same sex relationships would not be afforded assistance or protection.
There is a lot of pressure on the House Republicans, the party that is responsible for the wording of the current house bill, to change their opinion and broaden the definition of domestic relationships.  Let’s hope they recognize the importance of an inclusive bill before it gets to the house floor for a vote.

Think for a moment, if two people are being assaulted on the street, the cops that come to stop the violence don’t first ask the gender preference of the victims to know which one to help.  The cops stop the assault on both, arrest the abusers and protect the victims from further violence.  But, in domestic violence, the cops ask the gender preference, they then only help the straight victim while allowing the assault to continue on the gay victim.  Why is it different if it is a domestic relationship when both are of the same sex?  This is a relatively possible outcome of the law.  The victim from the duel sex marriage receives financial support to get out of the household, has protection provide by law enforcement and the local community has help in prosecuting the abuser.  None of that help is available to the same sex victim.  The current House bill would only help one kind of person, apparently the kind the House Republicans like, and not the other kind of person, apparently the kind the House Republicans don’t like.
People are people and deserve the community’s help regardless of their living arrangements.  House Republicans need to change their position on the current legislation and provide support to all domestic partners, not just those that are married.
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