WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign praised today's introduction of the Responsible Education About Life Act in the U.S. House and Senate. The bill would create a grant program through the Department of Health and Human Services for comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education.
"Our nation's youth deserve the facts about how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "The federal government has tied states' hands when it comes to providing prevention education to teens. It's time to ensure that states can provide comprehensive sex education that gives students the tools they need to make responsible decisions."
Currently, states can only receive federal funding for sex education if they teach abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that are prohibited from openly discussing condoms and other forms of contraception. In addition, the federal government has spent more than $1 billion providing funding to community-based abstinence education programs whose federal guidelines mandate defining marriage as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as a husband and wife."
"The needs of the vast majority of American students, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, are currently completely ignored by federally funded sex education programs," added Solmonese. "Sex education must be based on public health, not narrow right-wing ideology. We thank Representative Lee, Senator Lautenberg and all of the congressional supporters of this legislation for their commitment to the health of our nation's youth. We urge members from both sides of the aisle to co-sponsor and support this critical legislation."
The REAL Act was introduced March 22 by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. It would create a grant program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services that would award $206 million per year to states for comprehensive sexuality education. HRC and its health community allies, including the Sexuality Information Education Council of the United States the AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families and the National Education Association, have all consistently supported the bill.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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