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Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:29 PM

AP bans use of words “husband,” “wife” for legally-wed gay couples


2/12/2013 1:37pm by John Aravosis 55

Shortly after an internal AP memo banning the use of the words “husband” and “wife” for legally-wed gay couples was leaked, AP changed its story – they think they fixed the problem. They most certainly did not. AP even tweeted me that it’s fixed.

But it’s not fixed at all.

Now AP has a ban on the terms husband and wife for gay couples unless the couples use the term about themselves. Is that AP’s standard for straight couples too? Only call straight people husband and wife if the couple calls themselves husband and wife? I doubt it.

From AP’s memo:

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.


-snip-

http://americablog.com/2013/02/ap-bans-use-of-words-husband-wife-for-legally-wed-gay-couples.html


41 replies, 1709 views

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Reply AP bans use of words “husband,” “wife” for legally-wed gay couples (Original post)
DonViejo Feb 2013 OP
Sheldon Cooper Feb 2013 #1
KittyWampus Feb 2013 #5
DonViejo Feb 2013 #6
KittyWampus Feb 2013 #10
DonViejo Feb 2013 #15
Sheldon Cooper Feb 2013 #19
Lex Feb 2013 #23
randome Feb 2013 #2
DonViejo Feb 2013 #9
randome Feb 2013 #25
Lex Feb 2013 #12
dsc Feb 2013 #28
Puzzledtraveller Feb 2013 #36
kiva Feb 2013 #3
DonViejo Feb 2013 #11
Lex Feb 2013 #14
kiva Feb 2013 #26
Lex Feb 2013 #29
kiva Feb 2013 #34
gollygee Feb 2013 #4
Blue_Tires Feb 2013 #30
LittleBlue Feb 2013 #7
Lex Feb 2013 #8
markpkessinger Feb 2013 #17
LittleBlue Feb 2013 #21
Lex Feb 2013 #27
LittleBlue Feb 2013 #31
DonViejo Feb 2013 #18
frogmarch Feb 2013 #13
Lex Feb 2013 #16
frogmarch Feb 2013 #20
Lex Feb 2013 #24
frogmarch Feb 2013 #33
Lex Feb 2013 #35
frogmarch Feb 2013 #37
Lex Feb 2013 #38
frogmarch Feb 2013 #39
Lex Feb 2013 #40
Nye Bevan Feb 2013 #41
cali Feb 2013 #22
sufrommich Feb 2013 #32

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:32 PM

1. What utter bullshit.

I'm sick and goddamned tired of the double standard.

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Response to Sheldon Cooper (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:48 PM

5. what double standard? The AP uses whatever terms the COUPLE USED. I know & lived with gay couples

who NEVER used the term "wife". And yet apparently you and the OP'er think it should be automatic? Really?

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:50 PM

6. I did not express an opinion...

about the AP decision, I posted the news. Please correct your false assertion.

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Response to DonViejo (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:54 PM

10. I apologize

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:57 PM

15. Accepted. Thanks! ;-) eom

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:01 PM

19. Yes, "really".

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:04 PM

23. Not just "gay couple" -- but had they MARRIED

is the question. If so, then why have a separate rule?





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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:33 PM

2. Eh. Some gay men may not want to be known as a 'wife'.

Some gay women may not want to be known as a 'husband'.

To each their own. It's difficult to know where to land on the subject. I think the best term to use for all couples is 'partner'. Throw away the outmoded gender-based designations.

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Response to randome (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:53 PM

9. You're joking, I hope...

male and female married couple = husband and wife.

same sex married couple (male) = husband and husband.

same sex married couple (women) - wife and wife.

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Response to DonViejo (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:06 PM

25. No, not joking. Just didn't think it through completely.

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Response to randome (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:55 PM

12. What?

That's a new one on me. Why in the world would the AP call a man a "wife?"

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Response to Lex (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:10 PM

28. they wouldn't

but they should, and apparently won't, call a couple husband and husband.

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Response to randome (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:33 PM

36. I side with whatever their stated preference is.

Spouse is also gender neutral and works great.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:40 PM

3. A question.

I would have a massive problem if the media refused to use 'husband' or 'wife' when a partner in a gay relationship/marriage refers to themselves, as individuals, in those terms. However, why would you think that the media would instinctively know a) if a gay couple uses those terms within their partnership, and b) which person in the marriage uses which terms?

There is a reason why the media can use husband/wife in a heterosexual marriage without thinking, because those words have been widely accepted in society for men and women - I don't think I've ever met a straight couple who don't use those terms in a gendered fashion. For gay couples it is less clear and I suspect the AP is concerned about offending people by making those assumptions.

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Response to kiva (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:55 PM

11. See post #9 n/t

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Response to kiva (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:57 PM

14. What the actual fuck?

Women = wife. Men = husband.

"For gay couples it is less clear" - no it's not.

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Response to Lex (Reply #14)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:07 PM

26. Other people don't find it quite that simple:

"Better for me. When I say, wife, her jaw muscles stiffen. She becomes strange, unknowable to me while the sun outside falls behind clouds, while there is no light dappling our bare arms and faces, while the surface of our skin chills. "OK," I say. "How about husband?"

"With this word, husband, I feel her relax, the flow between us returning. Can I call her my husband without meaning a man? Without meaning a woman who wants to be a man? Without even meaning a woman who acts like a man? Even now, over thirteen years a lesbian, I still meet men I am attracted to, but just from the surface layers of my skin. No man can touch my face, my lips, and cause everything in me to drop, bones to water, as Linnea can, as women like her, butch lesbians, do. Who in the world can fly you to the moon, set you to swoon, send you down with that old black magic in a Tony Bennett ballad kind of love fever? For me it's a woman who would rather be a husband than a wife.

"When I call Linnea my husband I mean that she's a woman who has to lead when we slow dance, who is compelled to try to dip and twirl me, no matter that I have rarely been able to relax on a dance floor since I stopped drinking. She leads me between the black walls of a gay bar, our faces streaked with neon and silver disco light, the air so dark Linnea's black leather belt and both our black boots seem to vanish, leaving parts of us afloat in the heavy smell of booze and cigarettes. She leads me slipping under streamers and lavender balloons, in the center of the light cast by several dozen candles, on some friends polished oak dining- room floor cleared for party dancing. She leads me across a Sunday morning, sun streaming into our living room through southern exposed windows, so bright it sets the dust spinning. We dance clumsily on the purple oriental rug we bought cheap at a garage sale, the worn wool covered with cat and dog hair, the dog barking and nipping at our heels, me in stocking feet, Linnea wearing athletic shoes because the arches of her feet went bad a few years back."


http://www.graywolfpress.org/Related_Content/Book_Excerpts/Excerpt_from_My_Lesbian_Husband/

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Response to kiva (Reply #26)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:11 PM

29. I'm sure there are straight people who don't like the terms applied to them either.

But we are talking the general rule for the AP, not exceptions that individuals may feel, whether straight or gay.

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Response to Lex (Reply #29)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:22 PM

34. Then don't respond by saying "What the actual fuck?"

And saying it's clear. I do know lesbian couples who don't abide by gender specific adherence to your wife/wife rule, so not so clear.

Even though some straight couples may not use husband/wife I don't know any that would be offended if they were referred to by those titles, but I do know people in gay marriages who think it's presumptive to assume they use those titles.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:43 PM

4. AP creates style rules for consistency. It isn't really about "banning."

They want everyone to use the same terminology so there is consistency among stories within a given newspaper. It isn't because they think one term is right and one is wrong. They do this about all sorts of words and phrases. If there are a number of common terms, they will choose one, not because it is best, but so that it is always the same.

And they then say it's OK if people prefer that word, right? So it isn't even a strict rule.

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Response to gollygee (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:14 PM

30. +1

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:51 PM

7. What's wrong with this?

Their policy sounds okay to me.

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Response to LittleBlue (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:53 PM

8. Why not treated ALL married couples the same?

That's what's wrong with it. Why is a separate rule needed?

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Response to Lex (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:58 PM

17. The could just use "spouse" for every married person, irrespective of sex or sexual orientation n/t

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Response to Lex (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:03 PM

21. Husband and wife are sex-specific

I could see some male partners not wanting to be called "wife" and some women "husband", which is sometimes used by bigots as a derogatory term.

In most hetero relationships, men and women call themselves husband and wife. From my experience they don't use the term "partner" because it could indicate an unmarried couple.

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Response to LittleBlue (Reply #21)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:07 PM

27. Yes. Exactly so. So men are husbands and women are wives. Regardless

of whether it is a same sex couple or not.

See how that works?

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Response to Lex (Reply #27)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:17 PM

31. Those terms are turned into slurs

often when referring to gay couples. I have homophobic family members that mock gays with those terms. "Oh look, he's there with his husband" *eyeroll*. I've never seen it used in a negative way toward straight couples.

They can still be called husband and wife, the AP is just saying they want to make sure the terms are cool with the couples before using it. That's the practice I use in real life when referring to gay couples. I use "spouse" for gay couples.

I'm not entirely dismissing your concern, but I can see a reason for the AP's policy.

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Response to LittleBlue (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:58 PM

18. Did you follow the link to read the entire article...

not just the first four or five paragraphs in the OP?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:56 PM

13. Good policy. The same-sex couples I

am friends with do not use the terms husband and wife, and I'm sure they aren't the only ones.

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Response to frogmarch (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 06:57 PM

16. Are they married?

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Response to Lex (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:02 PM

20. Two of the three couples are married, and

the other couple is in a civil union.





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Response to frogmarch (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:06 PM

24. If they are a married person, there's no reason

the AP needs a separate rule.

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Response to Lex (Reply #24)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:20 PM

33. None of those involved

wants to be called husband or wife. The AP rule is a good one.

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Response to frogmarch (Reply #33)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:31 PM

35. So maybe they should adopt the rule for straight couples then

and have one rule. I know a straight married woman who doesn't like the word "wife" applied to her.





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Response to Lex (Reply #35)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:38 PM

37. So, is it your opinion

that when a same-sex couple is married, they must adopt the “proper” gender assignment terminology used for hetero couples, even when they don’t use the terminology themselves and don’t want to? That's what it sounds like: If they want to marry, let 'em wear the gender labels just like us "normal" people do. No fair if we have to and they don't!

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Response to frogmarch (Reply #37)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:42 PM

38. It is my opinion that straight people try to make gay marriage an "odd" thing

that needs separate special rules.







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Response to Lex (Reply #38)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:55 PM

39. It wouldn't be a separate, special societal rule. It

would be a courtesy rule for AP reporters to follow.



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Response to frogmarch (Reply #39)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:59 PM

40. I disagree with "separate but equal" rules for gay marriage

be they AP rules or not.



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Response to frogmarch (Reply #20)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 11:18 AM

41. Wait.... they got married, but don't like the terms "husband" and "wife"?

Really?

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Response to frogmarch (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:04 PM

22. well I have frequently heard my married same sex friends refer to their wives or husbands

that's what they are.

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Response to cali (Reply #22)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:20 PM

32. Me too, I only know one married gay couple,both men,

both use "husband" when talking about their spouse.

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