Sugarcoating an odious vote doesn’t make it palatable
Earlier this month, I wrote about Congressman Tim Walberg’s lying about his vote against the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). He claimed in an interview that he had, in fact voted FOR the VAWA. As it turns out, he voted for a watered-down House version but voted against the version that eventually passed.
I wrote to my Congressman about this and, this weekend, received a reply. In the reply, Rep. Walberg told me:
[T]he House version included conscience clause protection language. However, the Senate version did not include these protections, and I could not support that version of the bill. As you know, the Senate version passed the House by a vote of 286-138.
What “protection clause protection language” is Rep. Walberg referring to? It’s a clause that allows medical personal to refuse to treat victims of violence if it somehow violates their moral principles. Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune of the FaithTrust Institute explains in her letter to the U.S. Bishops that expressed their opposition to the VAWA:
Dear U.S. Bishops:
What is the matter with you?
The headline CATHOLIC BISHOPS OPPOSE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT speaks volumes to women in the pews. It confirms what many Catholic battered women and rape victims have long feared or suspected: the church is not a safe place for them. They cannot expect to receive appropriate pastoral care and support from their priests. And sadly, they are probably correct.
Once again, ideology has trumped good sense.
“Five key Catholic bishops are opposing the newly authorized Violence Against Women Act for fear it will subvert traditional views of marriage and gender, and compromise the religious freedom of groups that aid victims of human trafficking.”
It seems that the problem for the Bishops is that the final version of the Reauthorization of VAWA finally passed by Congress and signed by the President explicitly prohibits discrimination or denial of services to lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. It has nothing to do with marriage equality.
Fact: lesbians and transgender people are targets of hate crime violence.
Fact: lesbians and transgender people experience violence in intimate relationships just like everyone else.
Opposing this provision means that you support denial of equal protection of the law and of services to people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Your homophobia is showing and it is not a pretty sight.
The Albion Pleiad offers this condemnation of Walberg’s vote:
It was highly objectionable for Walberg to publicize his support of the Violence Against Women Act considering he did not vote yes on the final bill. However, it is the motives behind his opposition to the law that are even more disconcerting. Walberg’s chose to put partisanship above the basic protections that are granted to women. His refusal to reach across the aisle for such an essential calls into question his capability as a lawmaker.
Walberg previously served as Albion’s congressman until recent redistricting moved his seat out of Calhoun County. He defeated Mark Schauer, ’84 alumnus, for the seat in 2010. In November Walberg defeated attorney Kurt Haskell in Michigan’s Seventh District U.S. House race by a margin of 53.2 percent to 43 percent.
The bishops were wrong. Congressman Walberg is wrong. And they all owe women in America a forceful statement of apology for their hideous position.
If Walberg runs for re-election in 2014, it will be interesting to see if voters (especially women) hold him accountable for his actions while in office.