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.Explaining the new entry, Mike Oreskes, AP senior managing editor for U.S. news, said this in an AP news release:
The AP has never had a Stylebook entry on the question of the usage of husband and wife. All the previous conversation was in the absence of such a formal entry. This lays down clear and simple usage. After reviewing existing practice, we are formalizing 'husband, wife' as an entry.Possibly adding some clarity, here's a related comment from an internal AP memo (for editors and reporters, I assume):
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.This Columbia Journalism Review article adds more background on this new entry: "AP’s first usage guidelines on ‘husband, wife.’"_______
The AP news release and a related article are featured today, Feb. 22, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Style: Write Choices, available at the Editorial Style tab above. The AP release is also featured today in my daily online paper, Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs, available at the Plain Language tab. The CJR article is featured today in my daily online paper, Garbl's Good Cause Communications, available at the Nonprofit Communications tab.