Conservative groups don’t like the expanded provisions in the Violence Against Women Act, which is up for reauthorization.
Heritage Action and FreedomWorks, two well-financed right wing activist groups, are lobbying to scuttle the reauthorization. In short, they lament the expanded provisions, which beefs up funding for local law enforcement to prosecute domestic abusers while expanding coverage to gays, illegal immigrants and Native Americans. They claim VAWA hasn’t proved to be effective and argue that federal funding for law enforcement is both redundant and unconstitutional.
In a blog post, FreedomWorks criticized the cost of the legislation — $660 million — and pointed out that domestic violence is “already illegal in all 50 states.” It added: “Supporters of the VAWA portray women as helpless victims – this is the kind of attitude that is setting women back.”
Heritage Action is scoring VAWA as a “key vote” in determining a lawmaker’s conservative credentials.
Claiming that the reauthorization would expand the definition of domestic violence to include “emotional distress,” Heritage declared that the “expansive and vague language will increase fraud and false allegations, for which there is no legal recourse.”
“Under VAWA, men effectively lose their constitutional rights to due process, presumption of innocence, equal treatment under the law, the right to a fair trial and to confront one’s accusers, the right to bear arms, and all custody/visitation rights,” the group wrote. “It is unprecedented, unnecessary and dangerous.”