A comprehensive sexuality education bill, aimed at requiring public schools to offer a comprehensive human sexuality education curriculum, passed in a House Committee hearing yesterday.
Even prior to yesterday’s hearing on the bill, many groups spoke out against the proposition of a comprehensive sex ed curriculum and vowed to organize opponents.
Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila called it “inconsistent with Christian values,” even though the bill specifically states that it doesn’t “prohibit discussion of moral, ethical, or religious values of individuals as they pertain to human sexuality, healthy relationships, or family information.”
“It’s a really scary bill,” said Republican House Minority Leader State Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) in a radio interview about a week before yesterday’s hearing on sex ed legislation. “But we’re trying to make sure we pack the committee hearing room and really get the word out.”
Just how scary the bill
The House Health and Insurance committee hearing heard from over 300 witnesses, mostly opposed to the proposed law, and received over 100 written submissions.
Comprehensive sex education policy brings division
Students and medical professionals provided testimony in support of the new sex ed bill, and the dialogue throughout the hearing exemplified the need for accurate sexual health information for students and parents alike.
“I received sex ed last year as a part of my 8th-grade health education.” said Clark Wilson, a ninth grader from Douglas County who testified with his mother, “In this class, we were taught that any and all sex is dangerous even with condoms or birth control.”
Daniel Nolan, Reverend at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, said in his testimony,
“I oppose House Bill 1032 because I do not believe that it addresses the root cause of the bill, that is bullying of the LGBTQ youth.”
State Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Jefferson), questioned Nolan’s qualifications to speak to a sex ed bill.
“As a Catholic priest, are you abstaining from sex?,” asked Titone, “Well to follow up the question, which was my main point, you seem to be an expert on the topic. How did you become an expert on the topic?” After a loud outburst from audience members, Nolan said, “I hear confessions.”
Parents from across the state came out to testify as well.
“It [House Bill 1032] does not belong to be taught to my children without my consent,” said Brandy Hawkins, a mother, in testimony, perhaps not realizing that she can opt her child out of taking sex ed, as all parents can.
New policy emphasizes prevention
This new bill implements a curriculum that offers students information to make informed decisions about their bodies. In particular, it focuses on teen sexual activity, sexual identity, unwanted pregnancies, healthy relationships, and sexually transmitted infections.
In an interview with Colorado Times Recorder Jack Teter, Political Director of Planned Parenthood Colorado, said, “One of the things this bill does is recognizes that sex ed is a primary prevention strategy for sexual violence.”
Additionally, House Bill 1032 states that any comprehensive sex education requires “age-appropriate” health education for students starting when they enter school.
“I could not do this,” said State Rep. Susan Beckmen (R-Arapahoe County), “I would have to leave my employment because I would not do this. I would not teach 6th graders that abortion is viable birth control and is equal to adoption.”
House Bill 1032 titled Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education passed in committee after more than eight hours of testimony.