Advice & Education

Video: Census Bureau urges same-sex couples to be counted

With strong backing from the Census Bureau, we are hoping for maximum participation by same-sex couples in the first U.S. census that will tally those of us who say we’re married – even those without a marriage license.

For the first time, the bureau has deployed a team of professional field workers to reach-out to gays and lesbians.

The bureau unveiled its first public-service videos encouraging gay Americans to mail in their census forms.

The bureau’s willingness to count gay marriages – despite a federal law that denies legal recognition to any of them – has been hailed as a historic milestone by gay-rights leaders.


Same-sex couples everywhere can report as ‘husband or wife’

How do you describe your household partner? Take our poll…

“The 2010 Census will be the first to report counts of both same-sex partners and same-sex spouses,” explains Adrienne Critcher of PACE, Louisiana’s LGBT political outreach group that’s working with U.S. Census Bureau.

“The person filling out the form [Person 1] is asked to identify how all other individuals in the household are related to him or her. Census data are based on how individuals self identify and how couples think of themselves. Same-sex couples who are married, or consider themselves to be spouses, can identify one other adult as a ‘husband or wife’. Other same-sex couples may instead decide to use the term ‘unmarried partner’. In general, people who identify as unmarried partners are in a close personal relationship but are not married or do not think of themselves as spouses. Census data are based on how individuals self identify. This includes same-sex couples who live somewhere their relationship is not recognized.”

‘10,000 Couples’ hopes for accurate U.S. Census count of same-sex couples

For the first time in United States history, the U. S. Census Bureau will be counting same-sex partners and their families.

Delena Wilkerson – publisher of 10,000 Couples – states, “Visibility is a lot to ask of some same gender couples…’hate’ is still prevalent and discrimination against the LGBT community is codified.”

Dr. Gary Gates, expert demographer and Williams Institute Research Fellow, adds, “Americans have many misconceptions about the LGBT community that the Census data have allowed us to correct.”

He continues, “Although the 2010 Census does not include questions on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Census count of same-sex partners and their families provides vital information for and about the LGBT community.”

White House: Census will count married same-sex couples

The AP reports that the 2010 census will include figures on the number of married gay couples in the United States.

Census officials said they plan to reverse a Bush administration policy that would have left same-sex couples off the upcoming census.

After some states sanctioned gay unions, the census bureau during the Bush administration said the marriages would not be counted. It claimed the federal Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

But the Obama administration says its interpretation of DOMA does not prohibit gathering the information. Gay marriage is now legal in six states.

Gay families can be visible in 2010 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau – citing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act – will edit responses on the 2010 census questionnaires and list same-sex couples as “unmarried partners”.

In other words, we can still be counted. The SF Gay and Lesbian Examiner recommends that same-sex couples check the “married” box on the Census form:

The Census can still glean indirect insight into the number of same-sex couples and their families from this information. If two people of the same sex identify as husband and husband or wife and wife, the census will retain that answer, but when results are released those people will be counted as unmarried partners.

The Feds say it’s too late to alter the 2010 Census form, because any changes have to be approved at least 2 years in advance by Congress. Since the Census is reported every 10 years, the next chance gay and lesbian couples and families have to be officially visible will be in 2020. And that depends on whether or not DOMA is repealed by 2018.