Noah Brand investigates VAWA for himself, and discovers that it allows for equal protection under the law of all victims of domestic violence – regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Our friends at Buzzfeed point us to an interesting article about how Men’s Rights Activists have influenced some right-wing members of Congress to revisit the Violence Against Women Act on the grounds that it could be abused by illegal immigrants to gain residency by falsely claiming domestic abuse. As usual, a good law is being attacked on the grounds that it could, in edge cases, produce a bad result, and it’s better that everyone have less protection rather than one person, somewhere, potentially having too much. You’ll recognize this tactic from some of its other incarnations, such as “welfare queens”, “zombie voters”, and similar largely-imaginary monsters used to screw over people who want to feed their children or vote.
For me personally, the funniest part is the guys in comments complaining that the law unfairly protects women and gay men but offers no protection for straight men. Why is that funny, you ask? Well, I admit, it’s funnier if you read the law.
`(6) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- The term `domestic violence’ includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
Notice anything? The complete lack of gendered language, maybe? Indeed, throughout the definitions section, gendered language is specifically eschewed, meaning that the law does, quite deliberately, provide straight men with the exact same protection under the law as everyone else. No wonder they had to fight it on the basis of Scary Scary Immigrants; it’s literally the closest thing to a leg that they have to stand on.