Louisiana Senate votes to expand domestic violence protections to same-sex couples

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Passed and protected. Louisiana's senators passing a new bill to extend domestic violence protections to same-sex couples.

Courtesy: KNOE 8 News

If Governor John Bel Edwards signs the bill, it would make Louisiana the 49th state to pass this legislation. Some in the gay community say it's one more step towards equality.

"Obviously it makes me feel good," Taylor Michiels said. "I'm seen as equal in the eyes of the law. We were one of two states that didn't have that law. So, of course it's time for us to get it too."

The bill itself allows domestic disputes between same sex couples to actually be considered domestic disputes in the eyes of Louisiana law. Before, it was simply considered assault.

Someone who knows about this topic, Valerie Bowman. She's the director of the Wellspring Alliance. She says this ruling goes a long way.

"I think this is great news," Bowman said. "As a domestic violence advocate, I've been working for several years to have these laws changed. And this is great progress for our state to protect other victims."

And statistics show these victims need protection. According to Wellspring, one in three Louisiana women, and one in four men have been victims in some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

Taking that one step further, .a study by Northwestern University says that domestic violence in same sex couples may actually be more frequent than in heterosexual couples.

"This is just going to give them more opportunity to be protected by the law," Bowman said. "I think it's a great, great change for Louisiana."

A change that certainly makes some a little more comfortable.

"It's just one other thing that I know isn't going to make any of my relationships different from any of my friends," Michiels said. "It's one more thing where we're seen as equal. Not [seen] as special, but equal."



 
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