The Colorado House passed the Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education Bill (HB 19 1032) in February. The proposed law would prohibit “abstinence-only” education and the use of religious doctrine as a basis for sex-ed, as well as “shame based or stigmatizing language or instructional tools” in teaching about birth control, pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections or LGBT relationships. It would also require teachers to explicitly address the issue of consent. School districts may opt out of sex-ed altogether, but those wishing to incorporate it into their curriculum will be required to adhere to the standards set forth in the bill. The bill passed the Colorado House in mid-February.
Samuel Aquila, archbishop of Denver, Colorado, issued a letter, read at every Mass in the state on January 27, opposing the legislation. Hundreds of people, the majority of whom opposed the legislation, crowded the statehouse during a committee hearing after Aquila urged parishioners to contact their representatives to express opposition. The Colorado Catholic Conference (CCC), the political arm of the state’s bishops, also vigorously opposed the bill, despite the fact that the measure would apply only to public schools and would not impact private Catholic schools, which Aquila described as “a haven amidst our morally confused culture.”