A State Board of Education member stalled a vote to approve middle school health textbooks Thursday by saying the books should condemn homosexuality and make clear that marriage exists only between men and women.
Board member Terri Leo, R-Spring(above), called for about 30 changes to teachers’ and students’ editions of proposed health books in grades six through eight.
The board skipped a preliminary vote on the books after a representative for the books’ publisher, Holt Rinehart and Winston, said the company would consider Leo’s changes and report back before today’s final vote. The board also delayed a vote on high school health textbooks that emphasize abstinence as virtually the only way to prevent pregnancy and disease.
Some board members questioned Leo’s suggestion but are reserving final judgment until they hear the publisher’s presentation today.
Leo said that three of the 10 middle school books up for approval would not conform to a state law banning the recognition of same-sex unions as marriages. She said they endorse same-sex marriage by referring to the heads of families as couples or adults instead of husbands and wives or fathers and mothers.
“We’re considered a state agency, and we need public acts and records recognizing that marriage is between a man and a woman,” she said.
Some of her suggestions, however, go beyond the marriage issue.
One passage in a teachers’ edition says that “surveys indicate that 3 to 10 percent of the population is gay. No one knows for sure why some people are straight, some are bisexual and others are gay.”
Leo wanted to replace those sentences with: “Opinions vary on why homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals as a group are more prone to self-destructive behaviors like depression, illegal drug use and suicide.”