Wednesday, 13 February 2013
The above is Huffington Post Gay Voices take on it, though this version is no longer on their site as it's not really true.
Associated Press is America's biggest wire service, you'll have seen their name credited to news stories over here on a daily basis, too.
AP Stylebook - "The journalist's bible" - is seen by many US hacks as the authoritative guide to how to write, and which words to use.
The story came out of the following memo;
they sent out a slightly revised version by way of clarification;
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.
All Associated Press were surely suggesting is to check what the people being written about liked to called themselves, which only seems polite.
HuffPost are currently going with the wonderfully snappy headline on the new story; Associated Press Style Bans Calling Married Gay Couples 'Husband' Or 'Wife,' Except In Specific Circumstances
It did get Fagburn thinking - how does the British press refer gay partners?
Let's check on recent coverage of the world's best-known legally-joined same-sex couple, Sir Elton John and David Furnish?
So I went through stories written this year after we learned the name of their new son, Elijah, and also tried to find if "husband" was ever used about either of them.
Please note, this isn't meant to be in anyway scientific or reliable, it's just a bit of fun, really.
So don't write in.
Daily Mail - Yes, once in five pieces about Elijah, otherwise "partner/civil partner".
Daily Mirror - Yes, once. Usually says just plain "partner".
Daily Star - No, "partner".
Daily Telegraph - No stories about Elijah. But in other stories Furnish is "his partner", and like the Mail they also seem fond of the more formal, "civil partner".
The Guardian - Hasn't written about Elijah, but usually uses "partner". I think though the first time Furnish was called Elton John's husband anywhere was in The Observer in 2008. It could be the only time.
Independent - Elijah-free. The only time it's used the h-word was in an article written by Elton John for them last year; "Until the law recognises David Furnish is my husband, and not merely my partner, the law won't describe the man I know and adore."
The Sun - No, used partner. But in the past The Sun has been happy to call Furnish his husband in headlines.
The Times - No stories about Elijah. Very fond of running stories about them, but has never used "husband". It's "partner".
And, no, I have no idea what they like to be called.
But in my experience, if a gay man refers to his "husband", he's being ironic or incredibly annoying.
PS Here's Roy Greenslade on Guardian Media Blog on how newspapers - and their readers - reacted to the birth of Elton's first baby.
Update: Astonishing piece on Pink News by Corrine Pinfold - cut-and-pasting quotes they clearly haven't read!