WZVN, April 30, 2012
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FORT MYERS – The women vote is going to be very important in Decision 2012. And now, Florida Senator Marco Rubio finds himself on the defensive after voting against funding for domestic violence.
Democrats view it as another battle in the war on women and republicans want to put the partisan bickering on hold.
The Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1994. It started out as a bi-partisan effort. But that’s not the case anymore – especially when votes are cast in an election year.
Across the nation this past weekend, women held rallies against what they call the “War on Women.”
“It’s not just about reproductive rights. That is part of it; this is about equal pay, this is about having access to care,” said protestor Dr. Cathleen London.
And care for domestic violence victims is now up for debate.
The rallies were planned before the Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
Senator Rubio voted against it, claiming he was listening to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The group doesn’t want funding shifted to sexual assault services and away from domestic violence programs.
Rubio says he plans to vote ‘yes’ on an amended version. But that’s not good enough though for critics who say republicans aren’t on the side of women.
Senator John McCain fired back saying, “To suggest that one group of us or one party speaks for all women is ridiculous.”
So how does something like help for domestic violence victims turn political?
The bill that passed the Senate would expand victim services to gays and lesbians and extend temporary Visas to illegal immigrants who have been abused.
House republicans want to take out those extensions they consider controversial, which is just the latest example of an election year where women’s issues are front and center.
The Florida Democratic Party is now using Rubio’s ‘no’ vote last week to raise money.
Rubio’s votes are being scrutinized even more because he’s a top candidate for Mitt Romney’s VP choice.
The House will take up the violence against women act next month.