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AP Suggests Same-Sex Spouses Shouldn’t Be Called ‘Husbands’ Or ‘Wives’

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Think Progress LGBT
|
February 12, 2013
Issues: 

The Associated Press stylebook guides most mainstream journalists’ practices, so the announcement of a new, changed, or even clarified rule has significant consequences. On Monday, an AP “memo for internal guidance” provided the following problematic suggestion for how to refer to married same-sex couples:

SAME-SEX COUPLES: We were asked how to report about same-sex couples who call themselves “husband” and “wife.” Our view is that such terms may be used in AP stories with attribution. Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages.

Shortly thereafter, the guidance was subtly revised:

SAME-SEX COUPLES: We were asked how to report about same-sex couples who call themselves “husband” and “wife.” Our view is that such terms may be used in AP content if those involved have regularly used those terms (“Smith is survived by his husband, John Jones”) or in quotes attributed to them. Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages.