The following letter appeared over at CentralJersey.com:
Congressman Chris Smith recently voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
This legislation, which had enjoyed bipartisan support since it was first passed in 1994, is crucial in providing funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs all across the country, including funding for the forensic exams done by sexual assault nurse examiners to collect evidence from victims, and funding for domestic violence shelters and other victim services.
Why did Chris Smith and other House Republicans vote against VAWA this time? Because the bill provided non-discrimination protections for victims who are members of the LGBT community and because it provided special rules for dealing with victims who are undocumented immigrants or Native Americans and are willing to cooperate with law enforcement.
As the whole nation recently saw in the Ray Rice video of the incident in the elevator, domestic violence is ugly and brutal. The National Football League is beginning to understand the issues involved and seems to want to be part of the solution. Congressman Smith, it seems, would rather play politics.
By voting against reauthorizing VAWA, Congressman Chris Smith has once again shown that he puts his own personal and party ideology over the interests of his constituents, especially female voters. It’s time for a change.
former sexual assault nurse examiner