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Old 07-18-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
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Hurting Battered Women Is Not An American Value

I've never heard of this, it makes me furious. I don't believe the federal amendment will ever pass, hopefully that will never happen. But it remains an issue in states

by Rep John Conyers

huffingtonpost.com

As the Republican party attempts to cater to its base by pushing its so-called "Values Agenda" - including bills that cover abortion, cloning, religious freedom - it is once again ginning up the crusade to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. But in the process, Republicans are leading an assault on victims of domestic violence and making it easier for batterers to go free.

Today, the House will vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. The purpose of this constitutional amendment is to marginalize groups of citizens while energizing Republican votes this November. The FMA provides not only that any marriage must be between one man and one woman but also prohibits the federal and all state governments from conferring the legal incidents of marriage on any other type of union.

Although the marriage debate has centered around same-sex marriages, one enormous consequence of the constitutional amendment that is not well-publicized is the effect it would have on Federal and state domestic violence laws. In January, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (VAWA). Among other things, this Act criminalizes acts of interstate domestic violence and funds domestic violence programs nationwide.

In addition to VAWA, every state has domestic violence laws, some of which make it a crime to commit an act of violence against a spouse, a former spouse, a person "living as a spouse," or a person "similarly situated to a spouse." "Living as a spouse" and "similarly situated to a spouse" are almost uniformly interpreted to include live-in boyfriends and girlfriends, as the laws recognize that it is the relationship - not legal status of the couple - that merits a more severe crime being charged. The same holds true for state laws providing for civil protection orders - many allow domestic partners, whether married or not, to seek a protection order in the face of threatened violence.

These protections for victims of domestic violence that VAWA and the states have provided will be placed in jeopardy if the Republicans succeed in passing the Federal Marriage Amendment.

One needs to look no further than Ohio for proof of this prospect. In November 2004, Ohio passed a constitutional marriage amendment similar to the one being considered in the House. Ohio's constitutional amendment states that marriages may only occur between one man and one woman, and it makes clear that no other relationships of unmarried individuals will be recognized in the law.

In the wake of the constitutional amendment, several trial courts in Ohio, as well as two of its appellate courts, have held that because of Ohio's marriage amendment, the state domestic violence laws are unconstitutional as applied to unmarried domestic violence victims. In some cases, batterers have been let out of jail and have had felony convictions overturned because the batterer and victim were not married. Ohio courts have even stated that convicting an abuser for violating a civil protection order is now unconstitutional.

Ohio is not the only state in jeopardy of stripping protections from victims of domestic violence. Utah has enacted a marriage amendment that refuses to legally recognize any domestic union other than that between a man and a woman and refuses to give such unions the same or substantially equivalent legal effect. In addition, this fall, Virginians will vote on a marriage amendment that bans all forms of legal recognition of domestic partnerships that "approximate marriage." If the Federal Marriage amendment is enacted, the problem becomes nationwide, and so does the threat to victims of domestic violence.


Properly understood, the Republicans' "Values Agenda" means anti-civil rights, anti-choice, anti-health care, anti-free speech, and, apparently, pro-batterer. Fortunately, the marriage amendment failed in the Senate and likely will fail again in the House.
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Old 07-18-2006, 11:20 AM   #2
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Even if it isn't considered spousal abuse violence against another is still a crime. They'd just be charged with something else right? So I guess the question is are the penalties for a non spouse less? I don't recall there being more protections from violence for a spouse vs. partner.

You can obtain an order for protection or restraining order against anyone, at least in the states I've lived in.

I can't believe they are letting batterers out of jail.
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Old 07-18-2006, 11:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Properly understood, the Republicans' "Values Agenda" means anti-civil rights, anti-choice, anti-health care, anti-free speech, and, apparently, pro-batterer. Fortunately, the marriage amendment failed in the Senate and likely will fail again in the House.
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Old 07-18-2006, 11:27 AM   #4
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Re: Hurting Battered Women Is Not An American Value

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Fortunately, the marriage amendment failed in the Senate and likely will fail again in the House.
What will that mean for people in Ohio, Utah and Virginia though?
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Old 07-18-2006, 11:44 AM   #5
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Originally posted by redkat


I can't believe they are letting batterers out of jail.
I can't either, but I would imagine in those cases "the law is the law" and no marriage apparently means the batterer cannot be held in jail. Wouldn't be the first time the law lets batterers go free of course, but I guess this is a whole new opportunity for the law to do so.

"Ohio courts have even stated that convicting an abuser for violating a civil protection order is now unconstitutional."
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:08 PM   #6
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Wow. I'd like to see more on this.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:18 PM   #7
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Damn. This is bad news.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:37 PM   #8
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Re: Hurting Battered Women Is Not An American Value

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen

Properly understood, the Republicans' "Values Agenda" means anti-civil rights, anti-choice, anti-health care, anti-free speech, and, apparently, pro-batterer. Fortunately, the marriage amendment failed in the Senate and likely will fail again in the House.
Is the fault with the marriage amendment, or with courts that incorrectly interpret laws? Doesn't seem like the marriage amendment as written has anything to with domestic violence. I'd blame the outcome on activist judges who think they have to interpret every law by "reading between the lines" and coming up with stuff that just ain't there.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:45 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Hurting Battered Women Is Not An American Value

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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest

I'd blame the outcome on activist judges who think they have to interpret every law by "reading between the lines"
We operate on common law in North America.

To you then the entire system is made up of activist judges and lawyers, by the very definition of what common law is.
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Old 07-18-2006, 03:51 PM   #10
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That article doesn't have any sort of liberal bias.
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:10 PM   #11
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Well "liberal" bias aside- that has nothing to do with how the law is being affected and implemented, and thus how battered women/men are beng affected. Unless Rep Conyers is lying about that, it's reality-and something that liberals and conservatives should be concerned about, I would think. I tried to find some more information online but I couldn't find anything in the time that I had.
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:22 PM   #12
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Conyers’ statements are far from a legal analysis and more political commentary. His use of the “if you don’t believe our way, you must hate people” argument is gratuitous.

Besides, the laws defining marriage DO NOT nullify or eliminate laws against battery.
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Conyers’ statements are far from a legal analysis and more political commentary. His use of the “if you don’t believe our way, you must hate people” argument is gratuitous.

Besides, the laws defining marriage DO NOT nullify or eliminate laws against battery.
Well it is taken from a political blog, and I don't know if he is a lawyer or not.

And isn't the point that the laws defining marriage are affecting the ways in which the courts are ruling on cases? I have very limited knowledge about the technicalities since I'm not a lawyer and I don't pretend to know much about the law. But I can definitely see how marriage amendments in states could adversely impact domestic violence cases and as he says, even orders of protection.



"Ohio courts have even stated that convicting an abuser for violating a civil protection order is now unconstitutional."
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


"Ohio courts have even stated that convicting an abuser for violating a civil protection order is now unconstitutional."
This I don't understand... It has to be the wording of the statute. It does seem like this opens up a can of worms that the legislature will now have to address.
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by redkat


This I don't understand... It has to be the wording of the statute. It does seem like this opens up a can of worms that the legislature will now have to address.
Remember, the statement is Conyer's take on a court decision. Absent a reference to the court's decision (he doesn't even mention the case name), I'm not sure how much weight we can give the conclusion.
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