Davids celebrates passage of same-sex marriage law

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, right, was at the signing of the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act. (Photo from Rep. Davids’ office)

U.S> Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., applauded bipartisan passage of legislation she introduced to enshrine marriage equality in federal law.

The Respect for Marriage Act passed both the U.S. House and Senate with bipartisan support and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Davids joined her colleagues to introduce the Respect for Marriage Act in July following Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs v Jackson, in which he stated that the Supreme Court “should reconsider” previous rulings codifying same-sex marriage protections. The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and provides additional legal protections from attempts to undermine marriage equality at the state level.

“After the Dobbs decision, people across Kansas and the entire country felt fear and anxiety as many of our individual freedoms were called into question or outright stripped away,” Rep. Davids said. “That includes marriage equality for same-sex couples, which was explicitly threatened by Justice Thomas. I’m proud to have introduced legislation that will help lessen that fear and provide stability to so many families, and I applaud the bipartisan group of lawmakers who joined me to stand up for our rights.”

The Respect for Marriage Act will:

• Repeal DOMA. The Supreme Court effectively rendered DOMA inactive with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, but it did not repeal it, meaning the unconstitutional and discriminatory law still officially remains on the books. With passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, DOMA will finally be repealed.

• Enshrine Marriage Equality for Federal Law Purposes. The Respect for Marriage Act requires, for federal law purposes, that an individual be considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed, even if that state is not where the individual lives permanently. This gives same sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will enjoy their Constitutional right to equal treatment under federal law—regardless of where they live.

• Provide Additional Legal Protections from Individuals Seeking to Undermine Marriage Equality While Acting Under Color of State Law. The bill prohibits any person acting under color of state law from denying full faith and credit to an out-of-state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the individuals in the marriage, provides the Attorney General with the authority to pursue enforcement actions, and creates a private right of action for any individual harmed by a violation of this provision.

The Respect for Marriage Act is strongly supported by leading national organizations including: ACLU, Center for American Progress, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Freedom for All Americans, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Women’s Law Center, and PFLAG National.

  • Information from Rep. Davids’ office

Friendly wager made on KU-Villanova game

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., made a friendly wager on the University of Kansas vs. Villanova Final Four basketball game to be played at 5 p.m. Saturday in New Orleans. Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania wagered Hershey’s Kit Kats and Yuengling beer, while Rep. Davids wagered barbecue. The two serve as chairwoman and ranking member of the Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access. (Photo from Rep. Davids’ office)

Rep. Davids participates in White House signing ceremony for Violence Against Women Act reauthorization

Rep. Sharice Davids at the White House for the signing of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2022. (Submitted photo)

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., joined President Biden in the White House on Wednesday as he signed into law the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022, sending crucial resources to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

This marks the first time the landmark law has been reauthorized in nearly a decade.

The updated Violence Against Women Act passed with bipartisan support as part of the broader government funding bill, reauthorizing the law through 2027.

The reauthorization expands prevention efforts, enhances survivor services, and strengthens law enforcement response. In addition, it builds on the original legislation to deliver more resources for rural, Tribal, and LGBTQ+ communities, provide additional tools to hold perpetrators accountable, and support prevention programs on college campuses.

“After three years of working across the aisle to modernize and renew the Violence Against Women Act, of working to protect survivors and ensure their path to justice—it’s an honor to see this bill signed into law today,” Rep. Davids said. “And with comprehensive measures that empower Tribes, we are finally starting to shine a light on the disproportionate levels of violence against Native women.”

“The Violence Against Women Act helps us provide safe shelter, counseling, and advocacy services to survivors of domestic violence and their dependents when they are at their most vulnerable. For years, we have been working towards reauthorization so that we can continue to help women and children in our community feel safe and supported. This is a proud day and we thank Rep. Davids for using her voice on behalf of survivors,” said LaDora Lattimore, former executive director-CEO of Friends of Yates.

“Safehome is thankful for the support of Kansas legislators in reauthorizing VAWA. We are also thankful for the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and our partner domestic violence and sexual assault agencies in the state of Kansas for coming together to advocate for this legislation,” said Heidi Wooten, president and CEO of Safehome Kansas. “The reauthorization of VAWA will save lives. This reauthorization means ongoing financial support for Safehome’s legal advocacy program for survivors. We look forward to continuing to work together to serve survivors in our community.”

Rep. Davids presided over the floor during House passage of VAWA in 2019 and helped secure strong measures to addresses the crisis of violence against Native women and girls in the final reauthorization, including by:
• Expanding special Tribal jurisdiction and restoring Tribes’ ability to hold non-Native perpetrators accountable if they commit sexual assault, child abuse, staking, sex trafficking, or assault a Tribal law enforcement officer in Indian Country.
• Improving information sharing between federal and Tribal law enforcement and allowing greater access to criminal databases.
• Creating new positions within the Department of Justice to coordinate culturally specific VAWA programs
• Providing greater technical assistance for Tribes and communities applying for related grants

“Since its establishment in 2003, the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women has advocated alongside survivors, Tribal Nations, and domestic violence advocates to restore tribal jurisdiction and protect our communities from the highest crime victimization rates in the country,” said President Shannon Holsey, NCAI treasurer and NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women co-chair. “This VAWA reauthorization goes beyond just restoring our inherent tribal jurisdiction to protect our communities, it creates another powerful tool to address the epidemic of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women across Indian Country.”

  • Information from Rep. Sharice Davids’ office