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EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK: AP shows its homophobia

The international news service that banned to use of the word “homophobia” has now banished the use of the words “husband” and “wife” to described the spouse of legally wed gay and lesbian couples.

How homophobic!

The Associated Press, once considered the Rolls-Royce of news services but now watching its reputation tarnishing before their very eyes, blunders yet again with today’s strange update to its Stylebook. Here is the 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.

Sorry, AP, but SDGLN rejects your homophobic argument and will not follow your Stylebook on this issue. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News promptly rejected changes to the AP Stylebook over homophobia, asking why the AP is making lame attempts to protect those who hate all things LGBT and don’t like to be called out for it.

Gay and lesbian couples can now marry in nine states and the District of Columbia. Illinois and Rhode Island are currently debating marriage. Other states are poised to join the bandwagon … and we are nearing a historic decision from the U.S. Supreme Court of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Clearly, public opinion is on the side of marriage equality. When two people legally marry, they are entitled to be called husband, wife or whatever term they choose. It is not AP’s right to decide for them. Readers expect the AP to be neutral in these matters … but are learning that the AP is far from neutral and siding with the Religious Right.

The AP’s Stylebook ruling is homophobia at its worse. It shows a totally different standard being applied to legally married same-sex couples by limiting them to the terms “partner” or “couples,” while legally married opposite-sex couples can be called “husband” and “wife.” The ruling diminishes the marital status of same-sex couples while enhancing that of opposite-sex couples.

Isn’t it time for the AP to look at a calendar and realize that this is the 21st century and that things are changing rapidly! Isn’t it time for the AP to act like a real news service, practicing neutrality?

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.