Editorials

Burgoo: April 26

Congress has twice reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act expanding the reach of the law.

Let's hope that bipartisan support — a fixture in the law's history — does not fall prey to presidential politics and the increasing stridency concerning which party best represents women's issues.

This year Senate Republicans opposed the bill because of provisions that extend protections to gays, lesbians, transgendered people, Native Americans and battered immigrant women.

Some changes, such as increasing the number of temporary visas for battered immigrant women, are supported by law enforcement. And the need to do more to protect Native American women is supported by a regional survey by University of Oklahoma researchers that showed that three out of five Native American women had been assaulted by their spouses or partners and a nationwide survey that found that one-third of all Native American women will be raped in their lifetime.

The impact of this landmark law, as Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said last week in urging its passage, has been "remarkable," with the annual incidence of domestic violence decreasing by more than 50 percent since its passage.

Democrats and the White House are right to push for approval.

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