Mitt Romney has not publicly stated his opinion on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the reauthorization of which Republicans are delaying this year because of added provisions for marginalized communities.
During an “Ask Mitt Anything” forum at the Derry-Salem Elks Club here, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney demurred when an audience member asked him whether he would hold up reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act on the grounds that it kept men from visiting their children.
“I’m not familiar with the Act,” Romney replied.
The answer surprised some women’s rights advocates, since the Violence Against Women Act — which established new federal crimes for domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking — has been federal law for more than a dozen years. Former President Bill Clinton signed it in 1994, it was the subject of a high-profile Supreme Court case in 2000 and has been reauthorized twice by Congress. Bush signed the most recent version in 2006.
Now that the presumed GOP nominee is accusing President Obama of waging a “war on women,” Romney should disclose his position on this bill.
His campaign has hedged on another key piece of legislation to help women, the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act of 2009, which Republicans blocked in 2008 and almost uniformly voted against the next year. He has not yet not taken a position on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would help close the pay gap between men and women. Republicans have so far killed that bill too.