Despite helping create the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, Sen. Orrin Hatch voted against its renewal because it now offers greater protection for same-sex couples. Since it was created, he helped lead two successful efforts to reauthorize the federal government’s bill to combat domestic abuse.
Hatch said the provisions that involve protection for gay partners and Native Americans were politicizing the act and refused to acknowledge the existence of domestic violence in same-sex couples.
“It is inappropriate to use the Violence Against Women Act and the good will that it has attracted as cover for those new and divisive projects,” Hatch said.
Utah’s other Republican senator, Mike Lee, also voiced his concern for the bill and said that the federal government shouldn’t offer any criminalization or penalization and should leave it up to the states.[wp_bannerize group=”350″ random=”1″ limit=”1″ before=”” after=”“]“(The law) oversteps the Constitution’s rightful limits on federal power. It interferes with the flexibility states and localities should have in tailoring programs to meet the particular needs in individual communities,” Lee said.
One of the contentious provisions is the prohibition on discrimination of any federally-funded program against gays and lesbians. Also, the bill would increase the amount of visas available for undocumented immigrants who report abuse. Also, a provision would give federal courts more control over abuse on Native American reservations.
Hatch is facing a tough primary battle for his party’s nomination and he has faced heavy opposition from ultra-conservative groups.