The AP Stylebook's latest change: A big win for gay marriage?

The Associated Press reverses a controversial decision, and says people in same-sex marriages can be referred to as "husbands" and "wives"

Gay marriage
(Image credit: Jonathan Alcorn/ZUMA Press/Corbis)

After tripping into a bitter debate over gay marriage, The Associated Press is changing the way it refers to men and women in same-sex marriages. Ten days ago, the news agency faced angry criticism from activists after news industry watchdog Jim Romenesko published what he said was an internal AP memo saying that reporters and editors should use "couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages," referring to them as "husband" or "wife" only when quoting someone using the terms. Now the AP says its updated online Stylebook will say: "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."

Gay-marriage supporters began celebrating immediately. "Hallelujah!" says John Aravosis at America Blog. The Associated Press is correcting its unjustifiable edict that "legally-wed gay couples should generally not be referred to in the same manner as legally-wed straight couples." Now reporters will be able to observe a policy that "respects the couple's desires," allowing them to be described using whatever word they feel describes their relationship. "About time. And the right thing to do."

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