By Dawn Wolfe
Senate Bill #S368 is the U.S. Senate’s version of the Responsible Education about Life Act which was introduced in the House by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-NJ). The U.S. House version of the bill is called H.R.768.
Here’s a quick explanation of the bill from the Human Rights Campaign:
If passed, “The REAL Act will 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. While there are three separate federal funding streams dedicated to abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, no federal funding currently exists specifically for comprehensive sexuality education. Currently, states can only receive federal funding for sexuality education if they agree to teach abstinence-only-until-marriage, which routinely excludes critical information about the health benefits of contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The REAL Act permits states to receive federal funding without having to promise to teach an exclusive abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum.”
And, of course, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs discriminate against LGBT students who cannot get married legally in most of the country.
To date, Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, a Democrat from Detroit, is the only member of Michigan’s Congressional delegation to sign on as a co-sponsor to either the House or Senate versions of this bill.
Contact our two U.S. Senators, and your U.S. Representative, and tell them to “get REAL” about providing comprehensive sexuality education programs that don’t discriminate against LGBT students.
Senator Carl Levin – 269 Russell Office Building, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510-2202. Call 202-224-6221. Email Senator Levin by visiting the Contact Center on his website at http://www.senate.gov/~levin.
Senator Debbie Stabenow – 133 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510. Call 202-224-4822 or TTY: 202-224-2066 or e-mail email@example.com.
To find your U.S. Representative, visit Project Vote Smart at http://www.vote-smart.org or call the U.S. Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121.