Swift
Says Marsha Blackburn "voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape."

Taylor Swift on Sunday, October 7th, 2018 in an Instagram post

Mostly True

Taylor Swift: Marsha Blackburn voted against reauthorizing Violence Against Women Act

Taylor Swift performs at Raymond James Stadium during the Reputation Stadium Tour on Aug. 14, 2018, in Tampa. (Tampa Bay Times)

Pop star Taylor Swift jumped into the rough and tumble of politics with a rebuke of Tennessee Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn and an endorsement of Democrat Phil Bredesen.

In a long Instagram post, Swift explained that her concern over matters of gender orientation and racism drove her to speak out.

"I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love," Swift said.

View this post on Instagram

I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Blackburn, Swift said, "terrifies" her.

"She voted against equal pay for women," Swift wrote. "She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape."

Here, we look at whether Blackburn in fact voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Blackburn did vote against the bill, but she voted in favor of a Republican alternative. The differences were not great, but they hung on the very issue of gender orientation that Swift wrote about.

The 2013 controversy

The Violence Against Women Act was two decades old in 2013 when Congress wrestled with renewing the funds to support it. The law paid for programs to prevent domestic violence. It provided money to investigate and prosecute rape and other crimes against women. It supported counseling for victims.

The $630 million price tag was less the problem than some specific language on non-discrimination.

The Senate approved its bill first on Feb. 12, 2013, by a wide bipartisan margin of 78 to 22. That measure redefined underserved populations to include those who might be discriminated against based on religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

There were also changes in the recognition of the authority of Native American tribes to enforce the law within the tribal justice system. When the bill came over to the House, a key sticking point had to do with orientation and identity.

House Republicans crafted a version of the legislation that omitted the sexual orientation and gender protections. The American Bar Association opposed the GOP version, saying "the House substitute eliminates certain critical improvements."

Domestic violence shelters in some southern states said they had heard from governors’ offices that they couldn’t use federal funds for LGBTQ victims because the law didn’t explicitly say they were covered.

"You show up bleeding at the door and we’re going to address the bleeding, not stop to ask about your sexual orientation or gender identity first," said Ruth Glenn, CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "We didn’t want programs to lose their funding because they didn’t do triage on that basis."

The House Republican version failed by a vote of 166 to 257. The nay votes included 60 Republicans.

Blackburn voted in favor of the Republican measure.

The Senate version, the one that ultimately became law, came up next and passed 286 to 138. The bill had picked up 27 additional Republican votes. Blackburn voted no.

We reached out to Blackburn’s office for comment and did not hear back.

Our ruling

Swift said Blackburn voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Blackburn voted no on the final version that became law.

She did vote for a Republican alternative that lacked discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While there were other issues, over two dozen Republicans decided that it was better to fund the act than to continue to oppose the nondiscrimination provisions. Blackburn was not one of them.

We rate the claim Mostly True.

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Says Marsha Blackburn "voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape."
In an Instagram post.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
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