The U.S House on Thursday approved an
LGBT-inclusive Senate-passed reauthorization of the Violence Against
Women Act (VAWA), which offers protections for the victims of
domestic violence and sexual assault.
With a 286 to 138 vote, the House
approved the measure and sent it to President Barack Obama for his
signature. The president has said he will sign the legislation.
House Republicans had backed an
amendment to the bill which would have excluded victims who identify
as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, as well as Native
Americans, immigrants and college students.
The GOP version failed to clear the
chamber by a vote of 257 to 166.
All 138 House members voting against
the LGBT-inclusive version of the measure were Republicans.
The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
applauded House passage of the measure.
“Domestic violence prevention has and
should continue to be an issue that Democrats and Republicans can
agree on and work together to advance,” Rep. Jared Polis, a
Democrat from Colorado, said in a statement. “I am glad that
Republican leadership finally realized they could not afford to
continue alienating many Americans by attempting to exclude
provisions that protect LGBT, immigrant, student and Native American
victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.”
“With this vote today, we affirm some
of our most cherished and fundamental American guarantees – that
people deserve our protection regardless of who they are or where
they are from,” added Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the
VAWA has “transformed the way we respond to domestic and sexual
“I applaud Congress for passing a
bipartisan reauthorization that protects everyone – women and men,
gay and straight, children and adults of all races, ethnicities,
countries of origin, and tribal affiliations,” Holder said in a
statement. “The Department of Justice looks forward to
implementing this historic legislation after it is signed into law.”