How to Address a Same-Sex Couple

1-2-3 How to Address a Same-Sex CoupleGay CoupleLesbian Couple 

—–1) When each member of a couple uses a different surnames, list each name fully –  in alphabetical order by family name:How to Address a Same-Sex Couple

—–—–Mr. Thomas Appleton
—–—–and Mr. Richard Zappa
—–—–1234 Weston Street
—–—–Springfield, MA 12345

—–—–Ms. Linda Arlington
—–—–and Ms. Jennifer Zorro
—–—–5678 Taylor Street
—–—–Springfield, MA 12345

—–—–This is a formula you can use for any couple of equal precedence who use different surnames.

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

—–2) If both partners use the same surname, list in alphabetical order by given name. [Note: In French you will see plural honorifics such as Mmes. or Messrs., but plural honorifics aren’t used in standard American or British English.]  So use the following:

—–—–Ms. Adeline Henderson
—–—–and Ms. Zelda Henderson
—–—–5678 Taylor Street
—–—–Springfield, MA 12345

—–—–Mr. Adam Miller
—–—–and Mr. William Miller
—–—–1234 Weston Street
—–—–Springfield, MA 12345

—–If they are inviting them both equally … then list them in alphabetical order.

—–In a salutation just list each person as you would address them, in the same order you addressed the envelope. So formally that would be:
—–—–Dear Mr. (Surname) and Mr. (Surname)
—–—–—–or
—–—–Dear Ms. (Surname) and Ms. (Surname)o Address a Same-Sex Couple How to Address a Gay Couple How to Address a Lesbian Couple

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

—-#3A) Two exceptions to the alphabetical order rule.
—-—-If you are sending an invitation to one person and including the second person as a courtesy to the first – then list the primary guest first, their guest second.  If inviting equally … list them in alphabetically as covered above.

—-—-In a salutation list each person as you would address them, in the same order you addressed the envelope.

—-Salutation:
—-—-Dear Mr. (Surname) and Mr. (Surname):
—-—-—-or
—-—-Dear Ms. (Surname) and Ms. (Surname):

—-#3B) Elsewhere on the site I have examples of what to do if one has a personal rank or is an elected official. But I will skip it here. Follow the links if need be.

– Robert Hickey  How to Address a Same-Sex Couple How to Address a Gay Couple How to Address a Lesbian Couple

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

Alphabetizing When Partners Use Different Surnames?

I am putting together a church directory. I have some same-sex male couples with different last names. Under which last name do I list the couple?
—————-– H. Beck

Dear H. Beck,

—-#1) With couples of equal precedence who use different surnames, their names are written in alphabetical order by surname:
—-—-—-Mr. John Adams and Mr. William Zappa
—-—-I would list this couple under ‘A’.

—-#2) If one partner had a special honorific (Dr., Judge, military rank) or courtesy title (the Honorable), list that person first acknowledging the higher precedence.

– Robert Hickey How to Address a Same-Sex Couple How to Address a Gay Couple How to Address a Lesbian Couple

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"