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Article published March 8, 2013
Kelly vote criticized
Diane Syphrit Hermitage
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was created in 1994 and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 with almost 100 percent support from both parties. In 2011, it was time for reauthorization again. The bill went through the Senate with full support as usual of both the Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, when it went to the House of Representatives, Congressman Mike Kelly, R-3rd, along with his fellow Tea-Publicans, decided that the bill needed to be modified with provisions that would put various groups of women at risk, including Native American women, immigrant women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The version they created was not going to become law, but that did not matter to Kelly. All he cared about was keeping the bill stalled. It did not matter to him that the VAWA programs, funding and law reforms have changed federal, tribal, state and local responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Nor did it seem to matter to him or other Tea Party types that there are 24 victims of domestic violence every minute in this country. After more than a year of keeping the VAWA reauthorization stalled, the House finally passed the Senate’s version, despite Kelly voting against the bill (S 47). Don’t be fooled by his staffers who will be quick to say he supported VAWA. What Kelly supported was the failed version of VAWA that would pick and choose which victims of domestic violence were eligible for support. Violence isn’t limited to gender, age, race, sexual orientation or any other identity. It can happen to anyone, and it can affect us all. Many people have contacted Kelly’s offices asking why he would only support a bill that was clearly discriminating against certain groups of women. The only response his office has given is that he does not have to explain any vote that he makes. Has Kelly become our ruler instead of our representative?