I have been arguing for some time that it is inappropriate to label most forms of anti-gay (speech) acts as homophobic. The reason being essentially that phobias are anxiety disorders. Most of the actions described today as homophobic are simply anti-gay, those undertaking them are fully competent and the actions they engage in are not in any way expressions of anxiety disorders. Labelling them as homophobic suggests limited personal responsibility for their actions, because of the anxiety disorder link.
I am delighted therefore that the Associated Press, in its revised style guide, asks journalists to refrain from using the term 'homophobic' or 'homophobia' precisely because these terms mislabel anti-gay actions, and because they suggest limited responsibility on the part of those who engage in anti-gay manners. AP Deputy Standards Editor Dave Minthorn explains, 'Homophobia especially -- it's just off the mark. It's ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don't have. It seems inaccurate. Instead, we would use something more neutral: anti-gay, or some such, if we had reason to believe that was the case.'