Colorado has two new laws on its books and both of them were opposed by the Colorado Catholic Conference. The first law allows live-in same sex or heterosexual partners to adopt children without the normal legal review process. While the second law requires that all public school districts implement a “science-based” content standard for sexual education courses.
According to the Colorado Catholic Conference, the adoption law is faulty because it “fails to recognize the intricacies of adoption law and processes, and is not in the best interests of the children or people of Colorado.” Another issue raised by the House bill (1330) being made law, is that it “clearly circumvents the expressed will of Colorado voters who rejected Referendum I in November of 2006. Referendum I would have allowed same-sex couples the possibility of adopting children.”
The new law about sex education confronts Catholic values from another angle. The law requires that sexual education courses make some reference to abstinence education, but also mandates that contraception and other “science based” instruction be included. This is problematic for schools that receive Title V funding from the federal government which gives funding to schools for teaching only abstinence-based sexual education courses.
“Although this law does address the need for abstinence education it also mandates the teaching of contraceptive methods and practices. This legislation will eliminate a public school district’s ability to retain local control over the content of human sexuality courses taught in their schools,” the Conference noted.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, PA, recently addressed U.S. legislators on the same issue. He said that, “so-called “comprehensive” sex education programs that mention abstinence within the discussion of premarital sexual experimentation is not an appropriate alternative.”
“‘Comprehensive’ sex education,” he said, is “more accurately described as compromised education. The abstinence message is mentioned, but then undermined with the false message that premature sexual experimentation does no real harm if steps are taken to avoid pregnancy.”