The Associated Press announced today that it has updated its AP Stylebook with a new entry for "husband" and "wife," clarifying that the terms are acceptable for use in reference to same-sex couples. The AP had previously suggested avoiding those terms in favor of alternates like "partners" or "people in civil unions or same-sex marriages" and had come under fire from a number of organizations including the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
"Such reporting can reinforce the idea that marriages between same-sex individuals are fundamentally different from marriages between a man and a woman," wrote NLGJA president Jen Christensen last week, in an open letter to AP Stylebook editor David Minthorn.
Here's today's announcement, via AP.org:
husband, wife Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. Spouse or partner may be used if requested.
"The AP has never had a Stylebook entry on the question of the usage of husband and wife," said AP Senior Managing Editor for U.S. News Mike Oreskes. "All the previous conversation was in the absence of such a formal entry. This lays down clear and simple usage. After reviewing existing practice, we are formalizing 'husband, wife' as an entry."
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