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Ramon Johnson

ISSUE: AP Changes Styleguide for Same-Sex Couples

By February 20, 2013

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The Associated Press (AP) is under criticism from gay activists for an internal memo that instructs reporters on how to refer to members of gay and lesbian couples.

The memo amends the publications style guide to avoid calling individuals in same-sex partnerships "husband" or "wife" unless they have been quoted that way or if the reporter is aware that they have described each other that way in the past.

Deputy Legal Director of Lambda Legal, Hayley Gorenberg, says the rule could create discrimination in the workplace since straight married couples do not have to prove that they have ever called their spouses husband and wife to be quoted with the labels.

AmericaBlog published the complete memo, which reads:

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.

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