The Republican-held U.S. House signed off on a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that includes expanded protections for same-sex couples Thursday, ending a protected political fight over the measure and sending the bill to President Obama to sign into law.
The measure, which was already approved by the Senate, passed the House on a 286 to 138 vote, as 199 Democrats joined 87 Republicans to push the bill over opposition from a bloc of 138 conservatives, who opposed the bill for a number of reasons, including the new protections for gays and lesbians.
More Republicans voted against the bill than supported it--the third time since December that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has allowed legislation to move off the floor that did not have the support of a majority of his divided members.
In this case, the outcome stemmed from a broad desire from GOP leaders to get past the Violence Against Women Act issue. It was an acknowledgment that their continued opposition to a measure that had passed with broad bipartisan support in the Senate and has strong appeal with women voters--was damaging the party’s image.