New LGBT inclusive domestic violence law signed by Obama

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

President Obama has signed the Violence Against Women Act, which now also protects LGBT Americans from domestic violence and sexual assault.

It marks an important win for LGBT campaigners and Native Americans, who will see new protections under the law, and for President Obama, whose attempts to push for a renewal failed last year.

Some House Republicans had held up reauthorisation for weeks in a dispute over expansions to the 1994 law, although it was passed by the US Congress late last month.

Senate Democrats offered an expanded law that specifically protects gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender Americans and gives tribal authorities the power to prosecute non-Indians for abuse committed on tribal lands.

“This is your day. This is the day of the advocates, the day of the survivors. This is your victory,’’ the president said on Thursday. ‘‘This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens.’’

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden offered special thanks to Republicans, including Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who supported the renewal despite opposition from many in her party.