U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, was put on the defensive Monday by Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball.
McMorris Rodgers, who has become the GOP's chief spokeswoman against attacks on the party related to women's issues, defended the House leadership's position against adding protections for lesbians and others in the Violence Against Women Act, which expired last year and is under consideration for reauthorization by Congress.
She said the House GOP leadership is committed to the act but not as the reauthorization has been approved by the Senate. The version approved by the Senate includes the protections as well as extra visas for female immigrants facing abuse.
Here's an excerpt of the interview:
Matthews: Why would you limit it to just traditional marriage folk?
McMorris Rodgers: Those are side issues that have been attached to this bill.
Matthews: Well, they're not side issues if you're getting beat up by your partner. That's not a side issue. That's your life.
McMorris Rodgers: There's nothing under federal law that currently recognizes same-sex couples and so if we're going to have that debate in Congress, it should be a separate debate from the reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act …