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Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:02 PM

AP To Use ‘Husband, Wife’ Regardless Of Sexual Orientation

Source: TPM

PEMA LEVY 2:39 PM EST, THURSDAY FEBRUARY 21, 2013
The Associated Press on Thursday updated its stylebook so that married individuals will be referred to as husband and wife, regardless of whether they are in a same-sex marriage. The change comes a week after the AP received criticism for an internal memo designating the word "partners" for individuals in same-sex marriages.

The following entry was added to the stylebook, online and soon in print as well:

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," Mike Oreskes, AP Senior Managing Editor for U.S. News, said in an announcement on the change. "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."

-30-

Read more: http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/ap-to-use-husband-wife-regardless-of-sexual

63 replies, 6753 views

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Reply AP To Use ‘Husband, Wife’ Regardless Of Sexual Orientation (Original post)
DonViejo Feb 2013 OP
Happyhippychick Feb 2013 #1
subterranean Feb 2013 #7
Happyhippychick Feb 2013 #19
brush Feb 2013 #42
JackRiddler Feb 2013 #57
Evasporque Feb 2013 #40
Scairp Feb 2013 #52
frazzled Feb 2013 #2
Gormy Cuss Feb 2013 #9
frazzled Feb 2013 #11
Gormy Cuss Feb 2013 #12
marshall Feb 2013 #49
pnwmom Feb 2013 #14
frazzled Feb 2013 #16
pnwmom Feb 2013 #22
frazzled Feb 2013 #28
pnwmom Feb 2013 #29
cartach Feb 2013 #31
pnwmom Feb 2013 #34
leftynyc Feb 2013 #3
DonViejo Feb 2013 #6
leftynyc Feb 2013 #39
truthisfreedom Feb 2013 #4
Liberalagogo Feb 2013 #10
RILib Feb 2013 #46
Occulus Feb 2013 #59
krispos42 Feb 2013 #5
DonViejo Feb 2013 #8
krispos42 Feb 2013 #24
DonViejo Feb 2013 #45
CTyankee Feb 2013 #20
krispos42 Feb 2013 #25
CTyankee Feb 2013 #27
krispos42 Feb 2013 #30
CTyankee Feb 2013 #58
Liberalagogo Feb 2013 #13
Blasphemer Feb 2013 #18
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 2013 #15
sweetloukillbot Feb 2013 #23
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 2013 #33
pnwmom Feb 2013 #35
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 2013 #36
pnwmom Feb 2013 #37
Heywood J Feb 2013 #63
Occulus Feb 2013 #60
Coolest Ranger Feb 2013 #17
Skittles Feb 2013 #51
Coolest Ranger Feb 2013 #53
Skittles Feb 2013 #61
Coolest Ranger Feb 2013 #62
benld74 Feb 2013 #21
Mike Nelson Feb 2013 #26
pnwmom Feb 2013 #38
Mike Nelson Feb 2013 #54
pnwmom Feb 2013 #56
Scootaloo Feb 2013 #32
Evasporque Feb 2013 #41
alp227 Feb 2013 #43
cthulu2016 Feb 2013 #44
rocktivity Feb 2013 #47
randome Feb 2013 #55
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 #48
RebelOne Feb 2013 #50

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:06 PM

1. Maybe I'm not understanding but that sounds ridiculous.

Two married men are "husband and husband" two women "wife and wife." How can it be any different?

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Response to Happyhippychick (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:20 PM

7. I assume that's what they mean.

It doesn't mean a gay couple will be referred to as "husband and wife." It means the male spouse of a man will be referred to as his husband, and the female spouse of a woman will be called her wife.

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Response to subterranean (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 05:19 PM

19. I hope that's the case. The article was poorly worded!

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Response to Happyhippychick (Reply #19)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 11:57 AM

42. I was wondering the same thing too.

Hope the husband/husband, wife/wife interpretation is correct.

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Response to Happyhippychick (Reply #19)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 05:18 PM

57. Maybe TPM needs a style guide.

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Response to subterranean (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:09 AM

40. husband OR wife....perfectly acceptable..

His husband....her wife....etc...

cripes people relax its not rocket science...

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Response to Happyhippychick (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:50 AM

52. What's wrong with "spouse"?

Regardless of it's a man and woman, or two men or two women? I quite often refer to my husband as my spouse (I'm a woman). The gender neutral term spouse works for everyone so they should stick to that, and I don't even know why this is an issue. Just anything to makes things more complicated, no matter how trivial.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:12 PM

2. Why not just "spouses" for everyone?

I can't think of a context in which "husband and wife" could not be substituted for "spouses." But husband is a male-gendered term and wife is a female-gendered term. It's not hard to avoid gendered language. Sheesh.

I bet my nephew and his legal spouse would be kinda furious about this: which one is the husband and which is the wife, and what does that even mean?

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Response to frazzled (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:35 PM

9. yes, gender neutral terms would solve the problem quite neatly

but I think what the style manual update does is allow the reporters to use the terms used by those interviewed rather than restricting the reporters to using different terms based on some arbitrary rule, since now husband, wife, spouse, or partner are all acceptable terms for a member of a married couple.

What it's NOT doing is requiring reporters to call one spouse a husband and the other a wife.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:42 PM

11. Someone needs to edit the TPM article, or the AP manual then

It's embarrassing to have an article addressing style and have it be so ambiguous as to the usage.

But thanks for the clarification. I guess. Frankly, I can't see many contexts in which any of this usage is necessary:

"John Doe and Jane Smith, who are/were married ...." (not husband and wife)

"John Doe and Jack Smith, who are/were married" (not husband and husband).

"Married couple Jane Doe and Jody Smith" (not wife and wife)

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Response to frazzled (Reply #11)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:44 PM

12. Oh, agreed. It's terrible writing.

I had to read it twice before I figured it out.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:01 PM

49. They had a gender neutral term in "partner"

Better to refer to either spouse as partner, whether same sex or opposite. That is how British press does it.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:56 PM

14. Because most gay couples would rather be "husband and husband"

or "wife and wife"?

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 05:02 PM

16. But I'm part of a straight couple and would just as happily be called a "spouse"

What gay couples object to is a double standard in the language; gender-neutral language could be used for everyone.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #16)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 05:49 PM

22. Fine. But why would you object to another option that many gay people

and lesbians prefer?

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #22)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 07:49 PM

28. And some do not

How can you object to gender neutral language for all? Besides, as I've noted, the approved constructions are altogether archaic and grammatically unnecessary.

For the record, I refer to my nephew's (male) spouse as his "husband," and as my nephew-in-law. That is different than written language in a news piece, where a single construction that could refer to many types of relationships could exist.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #28)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 07:54 PM

29. Most straight couples will continue to refer to their husbands and wives.

All gay people are asking is to be able to to the same thing, and the meaning will be the same.

Any male member of a married couple can be called "husband" and any female member, "wife." The words will be no more archaic than any other words -- in fact, less so, with the meanings extended to same-sex couples.

You say you "would" just as happily be called a spouse. But is that the term you actually use in your real life -- or do you and your spouse usually say, "my husband" or "my wife"?

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #29)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 02:25 AM

31. Terms to use-staight couples

The old man and the old lady.

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Response to cartach (Reply #31)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:10 AM

34. What?

Not "the ball and chain"?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:14 PM

3. Wait a minute

Recently attended a wedding between my female cousin and her now wife. Does that make cousin a husband?

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Response to leftynyc (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:19 PM

6. No...

married heterosexual couple = husband and wife

married lesbian couple = wife and wife

married gay male couple = husband and husband

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Response to DonViejo (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:10 AM

39. That's what I thought

Doesn't seem a difficult concept.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:16 PM

4. Buffoonery.

Ridiculously arbitrary nonsense. There are an adequate number of words in the English language to accurately describe married same-sex couples. Sheesh, AP. You suck.

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:41 PM

10. Why do you have a problem with this?

AP is just going to call a male married man a husband or a female married woman a wife, regardless of the gender of who they married. This is a step forward. What's with the anger?

I always hated the word "partner". It made it sound like all gay people were in law firms.

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Response to Liberalagogo (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:48 PM

46. "I always hated the word "partner". It made it sound like all gay people were in law firms."

 

Or not married. That's what it usually means for heterosexual couples.

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:02 PM

59. Would you care to explain yourself,

or should we all (safely?) presume you're one of those "don't you dare CALL it marriage" people?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:18 PM

5. Wait, what?

So Ronald and Luther will be called "husband and wife"? Does the AP manual tell how to determine which name goes with which adjective?

I guess it would depend entirely on who spoke up first in an interview.


"Hi, I'm Ronald, and this is my husband Luther" translates into Ronald being the wife.



What a crock of shit.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:20 PM

8. No...


married heterosexual couple = husband and wife

married lesbian couple = wife and wife

married gay male couple = husband and husband

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Response to DonViejo (Reply #8)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:25 PM

24. Yes, exactly

Is this what the AP manual does? That's not how it looks to me.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #24)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:55 PM

45. Several weeks ago,

maybe two, the AP revised their style book and prohibited reporters from using the terms husband and/or wife when reporting on gay married couples unless the lesbian or gay couple referred to themselves as such. That revision further required that only the term spouse or partner could be used. A huge uproar resulted and this news article reports the AP has backed down.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 05:27 PM

20. well, why not just let people decide? I don't care. I call my spouse my husband because

I am old and this is how I grew up referring to a spouse. If a gay friend wants to use "wife and wife" I don't really care. I accept it as I would with a straight couple. I wouldn't want to force my gay friend to use "spouse" or "partner" any more than I'd want her to force me to use them...so what?

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #20)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:27 PM

25. Maybe I'm mis-reading it then

I looks to me like they're going to refer to a married couple as "husband and wife", regardless of the gender or the preferences of the people involved.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #25)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:59 PM

27. maybe gay people prefer it that way? Ever thought of that?

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #27)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 08:22 PM

30. Yes, I did, actually

At least for some couples. The AP seems to be making it the rule for all of them, which seems unfair and unnecessary.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #30)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:05 PM

58. No, I actually looked at it and it said that other designations could be used.

I used a guidebook of usage when I had to produce a Masters Thesis as it was required by my graduate program. My faculty adviser was pretty strict on usage herself, so I wanted to be extra careful.

This is their role. No biggie. There is flexibility. All is well. Carry on...

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:44 PM

13. Seriously

why are so many having a problem understanding this article?

I suppose the first sentence was written poorly. But if you READ the rest of the article, it's clear what is meant.

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Response to Liberalagogo (Reply #13)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 05:17 PM

18. I don't get it either

They could use a gender-neutral term for all couples I suppose but basically, referring to any person's male spouse as their husband and any person's female spouse as their wife is a welcome change.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 04:56 PM

15. "spouse"

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:16 PM

23. Doesn't convey the gender of the spouse

If you call Chris and Jan spouses - which is the husband, which is the wife? Less confusion if you say Chris's wife Jan, or Chris's husband Jan, or Jan's wife Chris.

The style is person's husband or person's wife depending on the gender of the spouse.

On edit: And that is a horrible lede.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 02:57 AM

33. The gender of the spouse does not matter. That's the point of marriage equality!

If the gender of the spouse is truly pertinent to the story, then it can easily be made clear in the story as an exception, or even in the headline if really necessary.

Unless it is necessary, spouse is completely sufficient.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #33)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:14 AM

35. Do you know anyone who, in casual conversation, refers to his or her spouse

as "my spouse"?

I can't think of any married couple I know, gay or straight, who does that.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #35)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:48 AM

36. Informal conversation (like DU swearing) is not journalistic writing. nt

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #36)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:59 AM

37. Then when in journalist writing are husbands and wives

referred to as spouses? How often do we hear of a straight public figure as having a "spouse"?

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #37)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 08:33 AM

63. https://www.google.com/search?tbm=nws&q=spouse

"A Fort Knox soldier and his spouse died of gunshot wounds early Friday morning at their on-post residence, ..."
"Brampton politician's spouse to appeal sex assault conviction."
"New police strategies that target youth gangs and spouse beaters"
"Planning to Retire with Your Spouse"
"Divorce attorney who helped client break into spouse's home loses ..."
"Nancy Lynchild, who died of cancer just before Christmas, will be the first homosexual military spouse to be buried in a national cemetery"

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #33)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:13 PM

60. The point of marriage equality is being able to marry regardless of gender,

but I assure you, the genders involved do in fact matter. I don't like the idea of my future possible husband being neutered in text, and feel the same about myself.

The real reason people are having a hard time with this is because they have a hard time with two men being called husbands. It's religiously-inspired soft bigotry.

They just can't admit to it.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 05:07 PM

17. I don't mind being known as the wife in the marriage.

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Response to Coolest Ranger (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:54 AM

51. I wanted to ask, what do gay married folk want to be called?

that's what they should be called

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Response to Skittles (Reply #51)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 08:54 AM

53. If I ever get married I'll let you know but the marriage is not top on my agenda right now

my career is.

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Response to Coolest Ranger (Reply #53)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:15 PM

61. well, I have never understood the appeal of marriage

I would never subject a man to that kind of torment!

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Response to Skittles (Reply #61)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 08:51 PM

62. Skittles you are bad LOL

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 05:40 PM

21. Future lawsuit for 'mis-labeling' the husband and/or wife during a 'partner' type story??

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 06:38 PM

26. I think it should be...

..."spouse" for everyone. Simple and not obvious to bigots.

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Response to Mike Nelson (Reply #26)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:02 AM

38. Why not "husband" for all married men and "wife" for all married women?

Just the way the terms have always been used, except extended now to gay couples, too.

Yes, the words are gendered, but so what? We call people "he'" or "she," not "it."

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #38)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:14 PM

54. That's fine, too...

... I don't feel very strongly either way. I think "spouse" covers everyone. It doesn't highlight somebody's gender and makes everything more equal. I would like it for un-married couples, too. I don't like "lover" or "partner" for a committed couple. Maybe we can find out what the people this pertains to like, and adopt that...

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Response to Mike Nelson (Reply #54)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 04:36 PM

56. I think that's what the AP policy is -- to refer to people as they prefer. n/t

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 02:26 AM

32. And the limits of the english language become evident once again.

Who would have thought the mutant offspring of Saxon, French, and scriptural Latin would become unweildy in the 21st century?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:14 AM

41. AP to use teltron and geffle for identifying married individuals

AP announced today that describing married individuals will use new made up words arbitrarily.
teltron and geffle can be used for either gender or for someone of unknown gender.

An example of useage: "The teltron and geffle team of songwriters received a grammy today."

Anti-gay groups cried out that this is yet another example of how gay marriage is ruining traditional marriage.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 02:46 PM

43. "Liberal media" that CAVES to right wing whining. N/t

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:42 PM

44. This makes perfect sense

The idea is for same-sex marriage to be real marriage, right? No separate-but-equal.

So of course the people in the marriage are not "partners," a word that does not denote being married, and that would be a special term for people in a same sex marriage.

Why would anyone want a separate language for same sex marriage?

Married men are husbands. Married women are wives. The words tell you the gender of the person described, and that they are legally married.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:14 PM

47. The husband is male, the wife female

What's wrong with using "spouse" or "married partner" unless the gender of the individual is relevant to the story?


rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #47)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:24 PM

55. And what happens when the name does not indicate gender?

It's ridiculous to keep gender-specific designations in place. Partner. Spouse. For everyone.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:23 PM

48. A simple search will confirm

that AP subsequently agreed to use the expressions "his husband" and "her wife" at least 20 hours ago so I'm not quite sure what the subsequent chatter has been about.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 08:21 PM

50. Love AP Stylebook.

When I worked for a publshing company, that was our only go-to reference. All the editors and I (copy editor) used AP as our bible for reference.

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