Same-Sex Ban Spurs Change

In Texas Health Textbooks

AUSTIN -- The Texas Board of Education approved new health textbooks for the state's high school and middle school students Friday after publishers agreed to change the wording to depict marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

On Thursday, a board member charged that proposed new books ran counter to a Texas law banning the recognition of gay civil unions because the texts used terms such as "married partners" instead of "husband and wife."

After hearing the debate Thursday, one publisher, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, agreed to include a definition of marriage as a "lifelong union between a husband and a wife." The definition, which was added to middle school textbooks, already was in Holt's high school editions, Holt said.

The other publisher, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, changed phrases such as "when two people marry" and "partners" to "when a man and a woman marry" and "husbands and wives."

* SPOKANE, Wash. -- Talks failed to settle 28 sexual abuse claims against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane over former priest Patrick G. O'Donnell, leaving open the possibility that the diocese will file for bankruptcy, church officials said.

* CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. -- A couple pleaded guilty to smuggling dozens of illegal immigrants from Peru and forcing them into what prosecutors called "virtual servitude" to pay for their passage. Jorge Ibanez and Maruiluz Zavala, both 43, pleaded guilty to charges that include conspiring to commit forced labor, transporting undocumented workers and providing them with forged green cards. After serving seven-year prison terms, Ibanez and Zavala will be deported.

* BATON ROUGE, La. -- A federal judge denied former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards's latest attempt to overturn his 2000 conviction on corruption charges stemming from the licensing of riverboat casinos. Edwards, 77, was sentenced to 10 years for extorting payoffs in return for riverboat casino licenses during his fourth term in office.

* HELENA, Mont. -- The parents of two 11-year-old boys whose frozen bodies were found in a snowy field after they skipped class and guzzled vodka have sued the school district for $4 million. The wrongful death lawsuit claims the Ronan School District failed to protect Justin Benoist and Frankie Nicolai III and did not hire enough native American staff members, who would be "sympathetic to the problem of alcoholism and alcohol disease prevention."

* KEY WEST, Fla. -- A tugboat hauling a barge collided with a docked Royal Caribbean International cruise ship, putting an eight-foot gash in the ship's hull. No one aboard the Enchantment of the Seas was injured.

* ORLANDO -- A 6-year-old girl brought more than $1,000 worth of crack to school, and her mother said the child must have gotten it while trick-or-treating. The first-grader was suspended, and her mother is under investigation, school officials said.

-- From News Services