For Immediate Release: February 21, 2013
Media Contact: Bach Polakowski,
202-588-9888 or

Today The Associated Press released a statement announcing a new AP Stylebook entry for husband, wife, coming after a requested revision by NLGJA.

The request for a revision was issued after an internal memo was recently circulated directing AP reporters to use the terms husband and wife for same-sex couples only with attribution and in quotes.

Several NLGJA members brought the memo to the attention of the NLGJA Rapid Response Task Force.  On Feb. 14, NLGJA President Jen Christensen wrote an open letter to the AP Stylebook Editor, urging a revision to make it clear that writers should use the same terms for married individuals − whether they are in a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage.

The new entry was added to the AP Stylebook Online today and will be in the spring edition of the printed book and Stylebook Mobile. It states:

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.

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association applauds The Associated Press for the quick action to set appropriate guidelines for the terms husband and wife. Language choices like these have an impact.

NLGJA offers helpful online tools for reporters covering the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. You can find our NLGJA Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology at, and our Journalists’ Toolkit is available online.

NLGJA’s Rapid Response Team stands ready to take on issues regarding fair and accurate news coverage of LGBT Americans and issues. Bring problematic coverage to the team’s attention by emailing

# # #

About the NLGJA Rapid Response Task Force

NLGJA members and staff work daily with our colleagues in the news industry to fulfill the organization’s mission of fair and accurate coverage. Sometimes, though, a more targeted response is required to promote greater understanding about how to fairly and accurately cover the LGBT community. NLGJA’s answer to this is the Rapid Response Task Force (RRTF). This panel of working journalists from mainstream and LGBT media answers complaints about reporting seen as unfair and/or inaccurate by readers, viewers, listeners and our peer journalists. Since its inception, the Rapid Response Task Force has not only informed countless newsrooms about appropriate terminology and the appearance of bias, but has also used these contacts to spread awareness about issues facing the LGBT community.

# # #

About the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association

NLGJA is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members. For more information on the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, visit the NLGJA Web site at

# # #