Colorado moves closer to passing bill to ban schools from teaching abstinence-only sex education

Colorado moves closer to passing bill to ban schools from teaching abstinence-only sex education
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A bill that would ban schools from teaching abstinence-only sex education is making its way through the Colorado state Legislature. 

The Colorado state House overwhelmingly voted earlier this week to pass a measure that would require state schools offering sex education to provide a comprehensive curriculum that teaches students about options other than abstinence.

If passed, the bill would also ban the state's public schools from teaching abstinence-only sex education.

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The bill, which seeks $1 million to provide annual funding for school districts unable to offer such courses, was approved by the state House in a 39-23 vote Tuesday. It now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

"We want to make sure kids understand that there are different relationship models beside just heterosexual — that there are people who are lesbian, gay and bisexual,” state Rep. Susan Lontine (D), one of primary sponsors behind the legislation, told a local NBC station.

The bill would also mandate that sex education include teachings about consent, safe sex and sexual orientation. It has prompted backlash from some parents and conservatives.

Jeff Johnston, a culture and policy analyst who works at Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, told the station that he believes the measure is unconstitutional. 

"Colorado State Constitution makes it clear that local districts will control the instruction in public schools in their districts and this gives control to the state,” he said. 

According to The New York Times, if passed, the bill would make Colorado the ninth state in the country to require consent be taught in sex education courses.

Thirty-seven states require abstinence be covered or stressed in such courses, while 13 states require sex education courses to be medically accurate. Seven states also prohibit teachers from portraying same-sex relationships in a positive light, the Times reported.