Studies show that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims experience domestic violence at roughly the same rate as the general population.
After a fierce fight, full of gender politics, the House passed a Republican bill on Wednesday to combat violence against women, over objections from President Obama and other Democrats, who said it would reduce protections for many battered women, including lesbians, American Indians and illegal immigrants.
Representatives Sandy Adams, Republican of Florida, and Gwen Moore, Democrat of Wisconsin, both said they had experienced domestic violence, but they took radically different positions. Mrs. Adams, a former deputy sheriff in Orange County, is the chief sponsor of the House bill, while Ms. Moore was one of the most outspoken critics.
But Democrats said major provisions were opposed by groups representing women, law enforcement officers and churches. The American Bar Association also opposed the House bill, calling it “a retreat from the battle against domestic and sexual violence.”
Democrats said they were dismayed by the House bill, but delighted at the prospect that Republicans would alienate female voters by pushing the legislation in this election year — after battles over contraception and other issues of concern to women.
The House bill omits three provisions of the Senate measure. One would allow Indian tribal courts to try certain non-Indians accused of committing crimes of domestic violence on reservations. Another would expand the number of temporary visas for illegal immigrant victims of domestic violence. The last would extend protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of domestic violence.
Leaders of 31 religious groups, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Episcopal Church, opposed immigration provisions of the House bill.
These provisions “would actually roll back protections in current law for battered noncitizens, making them more vulnerable and, in some cases, endangering their lives,” the groups said in a letter to House leaders.
Democrats tried unsuccessfully to expand protections for gays and lesbians.