The Associated Press today modified its stylebook to include the following definition of marriage:
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.
Why this matters? Because the AP Stylebook is the reference guide on language and its use in thousands of newsrooms across the country. Which means that newspapers—though certainly not all of them—which might’ve treated such topics with a bit of coyness will now be more forthright in describing the situations they observe. Of course, the change really only matters in states where marriage is an actual, legal option for gay people. So New York? Philadelphia? Not quite. Christine Flowers can breathe a sigh of relief. [AP]