I wish they would tell us what happened, because a look into the reasoning behind the initial two memos would be helpful. If the point of those original memos was, in fact, to restrict the words “husband” and “wife” to heterosexuals only, then they owe the gay community an apology. However, if it was just an honest, rushed mistake, they should own up to it with a simple admission of error, which is what news organizations do when they get something wrong.

And the Associated Press — or those few individuals who created the memo — got this wrong at first, pure and simple. Gay and gay-friendly organizations, media outlets, and writers were completely correct to be both worried and outraged. The Associated Press should have made this husband-and-wife addition to its stylebook within a few days of the original memo, not 10 days later. Those 10 days allowed concern to become anger and anger to become fury, in the process painting the entire organization as bigoted, which it is absolutely not.

Though I must say, a late revision is certainly better than no revision at all. It is a good one, and I’m glad they made it.

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.


Jennifer Vanasco is a is a news editor at WNYC and the former editor in chief of MTV Network's LGBT news site 365gay.com. She writes about social minorities, national politics, and culture. Her award-winning newspaper column on gay and women's issues ran for 15 years.