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Bill that would ban abstinence-only sex ed passes through committee after hours of testimony at State Capitol

After hours of testimony, the House Health and Insurance committee approved a comprehensive sex education bill that would ban abstinence-only education. It now moves on to the House Appropriations committee.

DENVER — Just before midnight Wednesday, the House Health and Insurance committee approved house bill HB19-1032 on a 7-4 vote. It now moves onto the the House Appropriations committee 

More than 300 people signed up to speak at a hearing at the Colorado Capitol on proposed changes to sexual education in state classrooms.

The bill, if passed into law, would require school districts who choose to provide sex ed courses to teach a comprehensive curriculum, which means more options for students other than abstinence. 

RELATED: Colorado legislators seek to ban abstinence-only sex ed classes

Most schools in the state have done so after a similar law was passed in 2013, but there were some -- including charter and rural schools -- that opted out.

"The bill clarifies content requirements for public schools that offer comprehensive human sexuality education and prohibits instruction from explicitly or implicitly teaching or endorsing religious ideology or sectarian tenets or doctrines, using shame-based or stigmatizing language or instructional tools, employing gender norms or gender stereotypes, or excluding the relational or sexual experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals," a summary of the bill reads in part.

Around 5 p.m., an announcement was made that no one else will be allowed to sign up to testify. This, after more than 300 people were already on the list to speak.

A 9NEWS photojournalist sent to cover this story called the crowd "unruly" and captured video of someone yelling in an effort to control massive the crowd. 

Lawmakers later allowed testimony to continue past the 9 p.m. deadline, and public comment went late into the night.

"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," Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver), one of the bill's primary sponsors, said. 

The bill comes with its fair share of opposition, including Jeff Johnston, a culture and policy analyst for Focus on the Family based in Colorado Springs.

"I believe it's unconstitutional," Johnston said. "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."

The bill will now be sent to the House Appropriations Committee.

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