Sessions opposed VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2013 because he staunchly opposed protecting the LGBT community
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Al.) is the first of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks who are being confirmed in the Senate this week. Sen. Sessions has been picked for the position of U.S. Attorney General and faced a battery of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
But the way he answered a question to his Republican colleague regarding the Violence Against Women Act was a feat in trying to appear reasonable and decent, in which he absolutely failed.
Some Democratic Senators accuse you of opposing the Violence Against Women’s Act. That caught my attention because like I did, you actually voted to reauthorize it. In 2013, there were not one, but two bills. One had controversial provisions that had never been received in hearing, the other did not. Am I right that you supported reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act?
What this question doesn’t tell you is that Sen. Sessions voted against the VAWA Reauthorization Act in 2013 because the bill that eventually passed added provisions that protected members of the LGBT community and other vulnerable populations.
But here is how Sessions answered his colleague’s question:
Absolutely. I supported it in 2000 when it passed. I supported it in 2005 when the bill on both of those bills I supported became law and then in this cycle, Senator Grassley had a bill that I thought was preferable and I supported his bill that actually had tougher penalties than the other bill and it is kind of frustrating to be accused of opposing Violence Against Women Act when I have voted if for it in the past.
But here is what Sessions said in 2013:
House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA’s protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans.
Luckily, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) wasn’t about to let Sessions gloss over the fact that he had indeed rejected the bill before the Senate which included the added protections for Native American women and the LGBT community.
You were just asked about Violence Against Women and your support. Let us deal with the fact, which what was the bill voted on. With the Violence Against Women Act that you voted against. You strongly opposed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. You spoke against it. Voted against it. That law extended protections for some of the most vulnerable groups. Student, immigrant, and LGBTQ.
Why did you vote against expanding protections for LGBT victims, students, immigrants and tribal victims of domestic violence and sexual assault? Why did you vote no?
Sessions said he would uphold the law as is for Native American women but failed to specifically add that same assurance to the LGBT community.
Here’s the truth, Sessions has a zero percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign in regards to the LGBT community. The ACLU gives him a 20 percent rating on upholding civil rights. He staunchly opposed same-sex marriage or any protective rights afforded to the LGBT community on several occasions.
And he isn’t giving any comfort to the community today that they will be afforded protections they won under a Trump Administration.