The law, first passed in 1994, makes it easier to prosecute domestic violence crimes in federal court and now provides extended coverage to immigrants, gays and lesbians. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
Flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, the original author of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, President Barack Obama signed a reauthorization of the legislation Thursday.
"All women deserve the right to live free from fear," the president said in his remarks before signing the bill. "That’s what today is about."
The reauthorization, which includes expansion of protections to gay couples and Native American women, passed the House last month after over a year of partisan disagreement over its renewal.
It was ultimately approved by the House by a vote of 286 to 138, with a minority of Republicans joining Democrats to support it.
The bill passed the Senate earlier in February by an overwhelming majority.
"This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens," Obama said.
This story was originally published on Thu Mar 7, 2013 2:47 PM EST