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SIECUS Releases Publication on the Marriage-Promotion Industry

Programs Discriminate Against LGBT Youth and Families

NEW YORK, NY— Today, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) released Legalized Discrimination: The Rise of the Marriage-Promotion Industry and How Federally Funded Programs Discriminate Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth and Families.  The special report examines the rise of the federal government’s involvement in promoting heterosexual marriage as the only morally acceptable life choice, and discriminating against individuals who do not fit into that mold.

“This is an important report that sheds light on an over-looked, insidious form of discrimination against LGBT youth and their families,” said Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).  “I hope this information is read and absorbed by policy-makers, parents, and educators.”

With the unwavering support of the Bush administration, and more than two billion federal and state dollars over the past quarter century, distributed through programs such as the Healthy Marriage Initiative, groups dedicated to promoting marriage have become more than a community of individual organizations with a shared goal. Well-funded marriage-promotion and abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have become a full-fledged industry that is ostensibly aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and reducing poverty, but in reality promotes idealized notions of heterosexual marriage as the cure for all of society’s ills in schools, stigmatizes and demeans LGBT youth, and leaves all youth unprepared to make healthy decisions in their lives.

“On a fundamental level, this report tells the story of how some of the most extreme right wing elements of our country conspired to subvert taxpayer dollars to promote one type of family over all others,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS.  “Marriage-promotion programs are trying to make second-class citizens out of LGBT youth and families.  This report sheds light on how violative these programs are of basic American values like tolerance and diversity.”

SIECUS’ special report outlines the history of the marriage promotion industry, the funding streams which support it, the messages it is giving to youths, the conservative agenda that motivates it, and also gives policy recommendations based on the findings.  The full report and executive summary can be found here.  Contact Patrick Malone at (212)819-9770 ext. 316 or with any questions.