President Obama on Thursday signed into law a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Originally authored by then-Sen. Joe Biden and passed in 1994, the legislation provides federal funding for programs and research to prevent and prosecute domestic and sexual violence.
The law, which has been expanded, is a legislative victory for advocates of gay rights and Native Americans. Gays, lesbians and immigrants will now have equal access to the law's programs, and Native American tribes can prosecute non-natives who commit crimes of domestic and sexual violence against native women.
VAWA also provides $659 million a year for five years for various programs and grants for transitional housing, legal assistance, law enforcement training and hotlines.
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(Photo: KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI /Landov)