The opt-out clause "isn't an adequate response for parents who have legitimate concerns," she said. It only applies to human sexuality instruction and does not allow parents to opt out of curriculum that deals with sexuality and gender.
The bill explicitly says a school is not required to give written notification to parents "for programming on gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or healthy relationships that occurs outside the context of human sexuality instruction."
Even where the opt-out clause applies, schools don't distribute information uniformly and nothing is done in a uniform manner across the state, Kraska said.
Kristi Burton-Brown, a constitutional attorney, told legislators she saw legal trouble in the bill's simultaneous claim to teach an undefined "healthy relationship" while simultaneously banning any teaching of gender norms.
"Legally, this presupposes that a relationship based on gender norms cannot be healthy," Burton-Brown objected, saying this is viewpoint discrimination regarding what would be taught to children about their own parents.
While religious neutrality is neutral, she said, religious bias is not. The bill's phrasing about viewpoints that cannot be taught is a form of religious bias, she argued. Parental rights are also affected by the bill's limited parental notification provision.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila has opposed the bill on multiple grounds and encouraged Coloradans to contact their legislators. In a Jan. 28 letter, he said "public schools would have to promote abortion as an equal option to life, and parents wouldn't be notified before lessons were presented on gender-identity and sexual orientation."
According to Kraska, the bill would require that pregnancy in curricula be addressed by teaching abortion, adoption, and raising the baby as equal options. This concern was also raised by parents at the hearing.
Rep. Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, argued that in her interpretation the bill does not promote abortion, the Denver Post reports.
Several Colorado students who backed the bill said they had received deeply inadequate sex ed in school.
Gianella Millan, an 18-year-old graduate of a Denver charter school, said that "withholding information… does not keep young people from having sex."
(Story continues below)
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"It can and does put them in risky situations," she said, according to the Denver Post.
Father Daniel Nolan, F.S.S.P., assistant pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Littleton, Colo., spoke at the hearing.
"Bullying of any kind is inappropriate and needs to be addressed," he said, adding "I do not think endorsing LGBT relationships as safe and healthy is the answer."
Nolan voiced concerns about studies showing abuse is higher in same-sex relationships. Official endorsement of such lifestyles as safe and healthy will affect a student's right to disagree, he said.
"Students will be subjected to emotional and psychological pressure from the state," he warned, saying that the government of Colorado will become "the bully on a massive scale."
Legislators sought out Nolan's thoughts on additional aspects, including whether a putatively comprehensive sex education could exclude non-physical aspects of sex. There was also a provocative question from Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada, the first transgender legislator elected in Colorado.