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Politics

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

Another controversial move (see last November’s elimination of the word ‘homophobia’) on behalf of AP:

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.

No surprises here that The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association condemned this decision, stating the following:

I can see the distinction from an AP viewpoint when, for example, a man in a domestic partnership or civil union calls the other man in that legally recognized relationship “husband” that technically that person is not his husband, because “husband” is reserved for marriage.

But when two men in a legally recognized marriage call themselves husbands, it makes no sense to me that AP should make a distinction because that marriage is not yet federally recognized.

Well said, NLGJA.

Discussion

2 comments for “AP Suggests Same-Sex Spouses Shouldn’t Be Called ‘Husbands’ Or ‘Wives’”

  • Personally, I think that you should have the ability to refer to anyone you are married to, partnered with or dating anything you want. Honey, Sweetie, Wife, Husband, by name, or if you are mad at them “Jerk” “PITA” the list goes on and on and on.

    The AP shouldn’t be setting standards on who should refer to who — if two married men are husband’s and refer to each other as husband’s then so should the AP. Same goes for two women who are married to each other. They are married and are each other’s wife – right? So refer to them as such.

  • What people call each other is personal and between them. When it comes to addressing each other in public, rather than AP, we need clear laws from government. For example, if a gay couple has a child, will the birth certificate list “Name of Father” twice and delete “Name of Mother” and same goes in a lesbian relationship or is it only the genetic parent whose name goes on a birth certificate. Socially, it is between two people how they choose to address themselves but the LAWS and government decides to interject when it comes to children. So we are forced to have the discussion.

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