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Senate approves Violence Against Women Act inclusive of gays and lesbians

BY JIM ABRAMS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- By a robust bipartisan majority, the Senate voted Tuesday to renew the Violence Against Women Act with new assurances that gays and lesbians, immigrants and Native American women will have equal access to the act's anti-domestic violence programs.

The 78-22 Senate vote to reauthorize the two-decade-old act that has shielded millions of women from abuse and helped reduce national rates of domestic violence turns the focus to the House, where Republican leaders are working to come up with their own version.

"Over 160 million women across the country are watching and waiting to see if the House will act on this bill and finally provide them the protections from violence they deserve," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

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