AP Style: Husband and wife
The AP really kicked up a hornet's nest last month when an internal memo surfaced saying that "husband" and "wife" were fine for same-sex couples if the couples had regularly used those terms. Otherwise, the memo said, "couple" or "partners" was probably the better choice.
Slate's Jeffrey Bloomer had a more nuanced and reasoned look at the issue.
Now the AP has issued its stylebook ruling:
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.Those who were upset before might fire at "legally recognized marriage," since the federal Defense of Marriage Act still, technically, puts those state-recognized marriages of gay couples outside the bounds of federal law -- at least until the Supreme Court issues a ruling on a challenge to DOMA.
But I'm pretty sure AP intends to follow the lead of the particular states, and, overall, the new guidance seems eminently reasonable given the current state of things.