Lawmaker: Louisiana domestic abuse laws risk nullification
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana lawmaker fears women and children could lose crucial domestic violence protections if his colleagues refuse to join 48 states that have widened the safeguards to include same-sex couples.
Rep. Patrick Connick wants to remove the requirement that a victim be of the opposite sex of the alleged offender to be considered a victim of domestic violence.
The Marrero Republican's bill narrowly passed the House but fell six votes short Tuesday in the Senate. Seven senators were absent, including five Democrats.
Because the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage, Connick says same-sex couples should be receiving equal protection under the law. If they aren't being treated fairly, Connick said a court could nullify the protections entirely, a move that would endanger women and children.
Domestic offenses carry harsher sentences than other types of violence.
The proposal can be brought up again before the legislative session ends June 8.
Connick was surprised the bill did not pass the Senate on its first try, but he believes enough senators will change their votes upon realizing the possible ramifications of quashing the measure.
Jefferson Parish Assistant District Attorney Sunny Funk, who has helped spearhead the bill, said better communication with the senators will be crucial ahead of a second vote.
South Carolina is the only other state to limit domestic abuse protections to those of the opposite sex.
House Bill 27: www.legis.la.gov
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Posted on Fri, May 26, 2017
by Associated Press