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Texas pressures textbook publishers to define marriage as opposite-sex only

Texas pressures textbook publishers to define marriage as opposite-sex only

A Texas state board of education member called on textbook publishers to change the wording in health books being considered for use in Texas schools to clearly state that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Republican Terri Leo said certain books attempt to nullify a Texas law banning the recognition of same-sex civil unions by using "asexual stealth phrases" such as "individuals who marry" instead of "husbands and wives." "I want the reader, the child, to know that marriage is between a man and a woman," Leo said in a written statement released during a board meeting Thursday. The 15-member board is scheduled to vote Friday on whether to approve the books for middle and high schools. The decision could affect dozens of states because books sold in Texas, the nation's second-largest textbook buyer, often are marketed elsewhere. Democratic board member Mary Helen Berlanga noted that one textbook showed a picture of a mother and a father and a young girl and her brother. "We cannot start censoring books because we do not like the terminology," Berlanga said. "I don't see two males or two females holding hands." The elected board, which has 10 Republicans and five Democrats, is allowed to reject books only because of factual errors or failure to follow a state-mandated curriculum. A spokesman for one of the publishers--Holt, Rinehart, and Winston--said it will come up with something it believes is appropriate and bring it to the board Friday. Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, said Leo is asserting a religious right agenda into students' textbooks. "My bottom line opinion is, it's irresponsible," Ellis said. "There comes a time when you need to put your own agenda aside and do what's best for youth."

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