A reader writes:
Perhaps the NYT was puzzled about reporting whether Sally Ride should be called a lesbian, or perhaps bisexual – since she had been married to a male astronaut for five years.
And then there's a bit of awkwardness in reporting on the length of her "partnership" with O'Shaugnessy. She was married to the other astronaut between 1982 and 1987. But her partnership with O'Shaugnessy is said to have been 27 years long, which means that it began in 1985 during her marriage. If one member of a heterosexual married couple begins a relationship with another person while married, and later marries the second person, it's not customary to celebrate anniversaries as dating back to when the extramarital romance began.
Even worse for the NYT, the obit now says:
…Dr. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy; her mother, Joyce; and her sister, Ms. Scott, who is known as Bear. (Dr. O’Shaughnessy is chief operating officer of Dr. Ride’s company.)
They changed the "Ms." to "Dr." at some point without noting the "correction" – obscured even more (by my little research on baby name sites) that Tam is traditionally used as a boys name in Scottish.
I think it's important to note Dr. Ride's partner will receive NONE of the federal death benefits available to married heterosexual couples.