At the Washington Times, where I worked for eight years, gay is tolerated for space reasons but homosexual is strongly preferred. Even more strangely, the Times still puts quotation marks around the word marriage whenever it involves same-sex couples. (That practice made sense, in a way, when it referred to commitment ceremonies that carried no legal standing. It's nonsensical, however, when the very issue is whether same-sex couples are granted legal standing. You can ban same-sex marriage, but how in the world do you ban same-sex "marriage"?)
I once derided the phrase "gays and lesbians" as being akin to "people and women," and indeed I still prefer to see it recast as "gay men and lesbians," but I don't see any point in changing a phrase such as "gay and lesbian couples." While gay certainly can refer to women (as it does in "gay marriage," and as, yep, Time magazine and Ellen DeGeneres made clear), "gay couples" risks being read as "gay male couples." Better to commit a tiny redundancy than to sacrifice clarity.