Republican Women Senators Vote in Support of Al Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment
November 1, 2009 by Alison
How do Republican women fare when it comes to women’s issues? Just ask Al Franken.
Al Franken, the Democratic Junior Senator from Minnesota and former SNL comedian, recently introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that protects the rights of rape victims who work for federal contractors overseas. The amendment has recently passed, in part due to the support of our Republican women senators.
The personal story that inspired Franken to introduce this amendment is absolutely horrific. In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones, a young American woman working in Iraq, was drugged and gang raped by her coworkers at KBR. KBR is a defense contractor and at the time a subsidiary of Halliburton. What followed after the rape was an apparent cover-up by KBR and Jones was even placed in a confinement container under armed guards. She was told that she could not leave and could not make any phone calls.
Two years after the rape, Jones is still waiting for justice. Back in the states Jones learned that she could not press charges because she had signed an employment contract with KBR stating that any sexual assault charges could only be dealt with in private arbitration and not in a lawful court.
You can learn more about Jamie Leigh Jones and her story in this 20/20 episode:
Franken’s amendment was devised to put an end to such outrageous injustice.
The amendment stopped federal funding for those defense contractors who used mandatory arbitration clauses to deny victims of assault the right to bring their case to court. It passed by a 68-30 margin with nine Republicans joining each voting Democrat.
All four Republican women crossed party lines and voted in favor of the amendment: Susan Collins (R-ME), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
Five male Republican Senators also voted in favor of the amendment which is in sharp contrast with the 30 Republican men who voted against this amendment, including former presidential candidate, John McCain.
So let’s get this straight: 100% of our Republican Women Senators voted in support of an anti-rape amendment and only 5 out of 35 Republican male Senators voted in support of the Amendment.
Still think gender doesn’t matter?
This is not the first time Republican women have crossed party lines to vote in favor of policies that benefit women.
In January of 2009 the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed, giving women the right to sue, without unfair time limits, in the face of discriminatory lower pay. All four of our Republican women Senators voted in favor of the Act while only one male Republican Senator voted in favor. Without the support of our female Republican Senators, the Ledbetter Act would not have passed.