Textbook Publishers Define Marriage to Appease Texas Board

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The State Board of Education approved health textbooks for Texas (search) high school and middle school students on Friday, after publishers changed the wording in some of the approved textbooks to reflect marriage as being between a man and a woman.

A day earlier, some board members had said the books attempted to nullify Texas' law banning the recognition of same-sex civil unions (search) because the books used terms like "married partners" but do not define marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.

One of the publishers changed its text to include a definition of marriage as a "lifelong union between a husband and a wife."

Board member Mary Helen Berlanga (search) asked the panel to approve the books without the changes.

"We're not supposed to make changes at somebody's whim," Berlanga said. "It's a political agenda, and we're not here to follow a political agenda."

The decision could affect dozens of states because books sold in Texas, the nation's second-largest textbook buyer, often are marketed elsewhere.

The elected board, which includes 10 Republicans and five Democrats, is allowed to reject books only because of factual errors or failure to follow state-mandated curriculum.