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One Step Forward, One Step Back: a Statement from Joseph DiNorcia, Jr., President and CEO of SIECUS

SIECUS believes that yesterday’s election was an important step in creating a government that will be supportive of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Over the past year, we have seen a groundswell of support for comprehensive sexuality education and evidence-based prevention across the country. The momentum that we, our partners, and advocates have built nationwide has been truly remarkable, and it clearly represents the will of the vast majority of Americans. We are optimistic that the new administration and Congress, under the leadership of President-Elect Obama, will help us further the good work that is being done by bringing about a return to rationality and common sense.
 
President-Elect Obama has long been a supporter of comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education, and we are confident that he will continue his staunch support once he is in the White House. In the Senate, he was a cosponsor of the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act, which would provide a dedicated funding stream for comprehensive sexuality programs. We believe that his administration, unlike the current one, will see that sexuality education for our young people is too important to continue to fall victim to long-standing partisan divides and the culture wars. We are hopeful that we will see increased support for comprehensive sexuality education and the end of federal support for the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage approach.
 
We are further heartened by President-Elect Obama’s commitment to combating the AIDS epidemic both at home and around the world. We are optimistic that he will carry this dedication to the White House by devoting more resources to evidenced-based, HIV- prevention measures and replacing ideologically driven programs with comprehensive and scientific interventions.
 
While we feel that this historic Presidential election gives us many reasons to be optimistic, we cannot ignore the disturbing outcomes of several ballot initiatives across the country. Thankfully, a number of ballot initiatives designed to restrict abortion and reproductive rights failed, but it seems that the lesbian and gay community took the brunt of the extreme Right Wing’s fury. It looks like when all votes are counted, same-sex marriages will be banned in California, Florida, and Arizona, and, in Arkansas all unmarried couples (including same-sex couples) have lost the right to adopt children. 
 
 
SIECUS believes that individuals have the right to live in accordance with their sexual orientation whether they are bisexual, heterosexual, gay, or lesbian. Prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation is unethical and immoral. We cannot stand silently by as this injustice is committed and these rights are stripped away.
 
 
In the coming months and years, we have much to be optimistic about, but we must remember that if we are not all moving forward together, none of us are really moving forward at all.

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