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Per DOMA, U.S. Census Bureau Won't Be Counting Gay Marriages

As of now, plans for the 2010 U.S. Census do not include recognizing the thousands of same-sex couples that are expected to be legally married in California and Massachusetts by that date:

Countymap"The U.S. Census Bureau, reacting to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and other mandates, plans to edit the 2010 census responses of same-sex couples who marry legally in California, Massachusetts or any other state. They will be reported as "unmarried partners," rather than married spouses, in census tabulations - a policy that will likely draw the ire of gay rights groups. The Census Bureau followed the same procedure for the 2000 census, and it does not plan to change in 2010 even though courts in Massachusetts and now California have ruled gay men and lesbians can marry lawfully... Critics say the census plan will mask the records of legal, same-sex, married couples and therefore degrade the quality of the government's demographic data. 'I just think it's bad form for the census to change a legal response to an incorrect response,' said Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California-Los Angeles law school that studies gay-related public policy issues. 'That goes against everything the census stands for.'"

They have the data but they're just 'dutiful' followers: "'This has been a question we've been looking at for quite a long time,' said Martin O'Connell, chief of the Census Bureau's Fertility and Family Statistics Branch. 'It's not something the bureau could arbitrarily or casually decide to change on a whim, because our data is used by virtually every federal agency.' The Census Bureau is not falsifying people's responses, O'Connell said, because the bureau will retain people's original census responses. 'We're not destroying data; we are keeping that data,' O'Connell said. 'We are just showing the data published in a way that is consistent with the way every other agency publishes their data.'"

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Comments

  1. There's a easy solution for that, a full blown boycott by GLBT community of the 2010 census.

    Posted by: Bojo | Jul 14, 2008 1:16:25 PM


  2. countdown to somebody wrongly blaming DOMA on Clinton: 3, 2, 1....

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Jul 14, 2008 1:35:35 PM


  3. So what does that mean to common-law relationships (hetero or otherwise)? Wouldn't that also negate those in the census?

    Posted by: Rad | Jul 14, 2008 1:57:28 PM


  4. A lot of states have overturned or thrown out common law marriage recognition. I am pretty sure Virginia no longer recognizes that.

    Posted by: Jean | Jul 14, 2008 2:07:39 PM


  5. Unfortunately, if one goes to the source article one will find that the Institute's Gates goes overboard in misrepresenting the bigger picture by claiming ALL gay "couples" will be uncounted. Since 1990, options on Census forms have allowed same gender couples to identify themselves as such, as well as indicate any dependent children. That, apparently, will not change. 594,391 couples self-identified in the 2000 official census while a 2005 study estimated that the number of couples had grown to 776,943. As both common sense and studies show that many couples choose not to identify themselves as such, the actual numbers are unquestionably higher.

    Rather than boycotting the census [which would only result in gays being counted in ANY way], pressure should be applied to Congress to repeal federal DOMA which is what prevents the Census bureau from counting any same gender couples as "married" regardless of how they are identified in their states [tho, again, they will be identified as "couples" by the Census Bureau].

    One of the original weapons of the Antigay Industry is to insist that there are two few of us to take seriously [which, of course, THEIR existence alone proves the contrary]. Therefore, though I never received the last two census forms, in 1980 under the race/ethnicity question I wrote in "gay" where one was allowed to designate one's own categorization.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 14, 2008 3:09:36 PM


  6. Should have read: Rather than boycotting the census [which would only result in gays not being counted in ANY way]....

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 14, 2008 3:11:39 PM


  7. Just one more reason why gay marriage (even where it's legal) is not marriage. I don't think people fully understand this, but Until DOMA is repealed:
    Married gays still cannot file joint federal tax returns, still can't get their foreign "husband" or "wife" a green card, and...still can't be counted.

    Down with DOMA!

    Posted by: Jesse Archer | Jul 14, 2008 4:14:56 PM


  8. Just one more reason why gay marriage (even where it's legal) is not marriage. I don't think people fully understand this, but Until DOMA is repealed:
    Married gays still cannot file joint federal tax returns, still can't get their foreign "husband" or "wife" a green card, and...still can't be counted.

    Down with DOMA!

    Posted by: Jesse Archer | Jul 14, 2008 4:15:36 PM


  9. Let's hope Obama makes good on his pledge to repeal DOMA, then all this argument will be moot!

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Jul 14, 2008 4:23:51 PM


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