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Associated Press reaffirms that gay married couples are ‘partners’ rather than ‘husbands’ and ‘wives’ in face of criticism

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  1. Doesn’t this quote etc contradict the PN headline?

    “This week’s style guidance reaffirmed AP’s existing practice. We’ve used husband and wife in the past for same-sex married couples and have made clear that reporters can continue going forward,” he said.

    PS They’re not “rules” – the clue’s in the word “guidelines”…

  2. Spanner1960 15 Feb 2013, 5:56pm

    I can see that people can get into a linguistic minefield over things like this (It’s not the first time I have inadvertently come to verbal blows with transgender people for using the wrong words)

    Personally, I would never see two married gay men or women described as “husband and wife” – I find that whole thing rather icky and distasteful.

    Better two husbands or two wives.
    If the couple prefer to be known as partners, then fine. I still refer to my husband officially, or ‘my other half’ in social circles, and nobody bats an eyelid.

    1. Grant Darktower 15 Feb 2013, 7:18pm

      I may have misunderstood the article but I thought the writer meant referring to the married same sex couples as either husband or wife i.e. Here come Grant and Jeff Darktower, the Husband and Husband team of writer for the AP Internet News Journal. Or in fashion news Ellen D and Portia, wife and wife of Fame television show….! It looks odd but that will soon become the new norm. That is what I thought and not saying Ellen and Portia, Husband and Wife of ……..

      1. I think ‘husband and husband/wife and wife’ sounds silly, and I do hope no-one says that. What’s wrong with “Grant and Jeff Darktower, the married couple who both write” etc, or “Ellen DeGeneres with wife Portia DeRossi”?

    2. No, spanner, you ARE misunderstanding the issue completely.
      No one is advocating the use of “husband and wife” when referring to a same sex married couple.

      If, for example, an article were written about me, according to the AP guidelines, they would have to refer to my husband as “Mikey’s partner”, rather than “Mikey’s husband”, despite the fact that we are legally married.

      My husband is most definitely not my “partner”. He is legally, religiously, socially, and in every which way possible, my “husband”. And I am his husband.

      It is incredibly offensive of the AP to create a guideline that minimizes the importance of our relationships.

  3. Why not just say “spouse” if they are concerned about gender stereotyping.

  4. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Feb 2013, 6:18pm

    I’ve even heard hetero married people refer to their husbands or wives as partners or other halves. It’s not just gay people. Interestingly, non-married hetero couples are either referred to as partners or long-term boyfriend and girlfriend; CP’d couples almost always referred to as as partners but then CPs aren’t even marriages either.

    I’m comfortable with husband, wife or spouse. Long as the marriage is valid, why should it matter? It’s entirely up to the couple concerned.

    1. That’s not the point. What is troubling is the final sentence in the memo (“Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in same-sex marriages.”)
      It suggests a double standard for same-sex individuals in legally recognized marriages. One has to assume that AP would never suggest that the default term should be “couples” or “partners” when describing people in opposite-sex marriages. AP should really revise the style advisory to make it clear that writers should use the same terms for married individuals, whether they are in a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage.
      Language choices like these have an impact. Such reporting can reinforce the idea that marriages between same-sex individuals are fundamentally different from marriages between a man and a woman.

  5. I don’t know whether they’re homophobic or just stodgy and out of touch, but this isn’t the first time we’ve had trouble with the AP.

  6. AP are saying that they are better qualified to determine who is legally married than are the states / countries who issue the marriage licenses. That is so irrational that it can only be based in animus.

  7. Take a look at the contexts in which the BBC website uses the word “lover”.

    1. Adulterous or clandestine heterosexual relationships.
    2. Any same-sex relationship which isn’t a civil partnership or marriage.

    Here is a genuine, home-grown double standard which should be challenged. Regularly and fiercely challenged, in fact.

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