2010 Census Won’t Recognize Same-Sex Couples, Married or Not

The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports:

"The federal Defense of Marriage Act signed in
1996 by President Bill Clinton does not recognize gay unions sanctioned
by states. Census takers will ask same-sex couples who live together
to define themselves as 'unmarried partners,' as they did in 2000
before some states – currently only Connecticut and Massachusetts –
allowed gay marriage. 'This is all about the numbers. This not about lifestyle or anything else,' says U.S. Census spokeswoman Cynthia Endo.

omission of gay marriage and sexuality questions on the census bothers
some gays and lesbians, who argue that a proper accounting would give
them the same visibility as minorities, who gain political power when
their numbers increase…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 census is all about self-identification,' Endo says. 'We don't ask that question on the census at all, but certain
information can be gleaned from that if two people are living … in
the house.' Same-sex couples with children will not be categorized as 'families' on the census. Children will be counted as belonging to
single parents, those 'unmarried partners.'"


I mean, why count the gay people? It might provide a basis for giving us some rights.


  1. Jon, Washington, DC says

    This is old news. The Washington Post reported this on July 17, 2008. (“Census Won’t Count Gay Marriages” by Christopher Lee, A19).

  2. JJ says

    There are still too many people who would not admit to being gay, so the numbers would not be accurate anyway.
    Whatever the count is – triple it. For all the people in conversion therapy, gay men who are married to women and vice versa, men who are “not gay” but like to have sex guys, and all the other closet cases who are too many to mention and can’t even admit it to themselves, much less a government office.

  3. Jon, Washington, DC says

    Wait, how does Prop 8 tie into this issue? Isn’t the Defense of Marriage Act the reason that the Census Bureau won’t count these unions? Andy, I don’t know what you mean by “recent Prop 8 developments.” Could you explain more?

  4. Sam says

    Yeah, Prop 8 is fairly irrelevant. As a Massachusetts resident (you know, the one state where gays ARE legitimately married), it seems the 2004 decision to allow gay marriage here is far more relevant since those are the marriages that will not get counted.

    Or how about Connecticut?

    Sorry, but the world doesn’t revolve around California.

  5. jp says

    ‘This is all about the numbers. This not about lifestyle or anything else,’ says U.S. Census spokeswoman Cynthia Endo.

    So does this mean they won’t count the Chinese or Mexican lifestyle either?

  6. says

    This isn’t true. Gays and Lesbians can make themselves known as individuals and couples by manipulating coded responses.

    The census bureau doesn’t toss out multiple answers to single answer items – they take note of them. It is part of the census’ mission to report these anomalies as a part of the final results

    So, if every gay/lesbian person checks gender as male AND female
    in ethnicity checks their actual ethnicity AND “other pacific islander” (for instance)
    it creates a quantifiable statistical anomaly that WILL be reported.

    I tried to get the do-nothing, L.A. social services intelligentsia to consider this for the 2000 census and their reaction was, “why is this important?” and, “won’t the federal govt be angry at us?” (these are the same idiots that ran NO ON 8 into the ground)

    It is a way for us to report ourselves and our families that the govt can’t deny (the specific coding techniques have to be widely publicized to ensure that the community knows and the govt knows) and the beauty is that the responses can be totally anonymous.

    Silence = Death

  7. Banne says

    What is more concerning is that DOMA merely says that one state does not have to recognize a marriage (of any kind) in another state. So why can’t the census count Massachusetts marriages for gays where the state itself recognizes it as legal.

    Since MA is the only state (well CT too I suppose) that has allowed gay marriage, technically only gays there are legally married. The census has to be precise, so I can understand why relationships outside of marriage (no matter if they are gay or not) will not be checked as marriage. It would simply be inaccurate. Unmarried partners sounds right to me. Except of course for the legitimately and legally married couples in Massachusetts (and potentially Connecticut).

    Well hopefully by the 2020 census this long national nightmare will be over. DOMA will hopefully be overturned and NY and CA will be added to the states where gays can freely marry. VT will likely allow it by then as well.

  8. Gianpiero says

    Andy’s right. Recent Prop 8 developments are related–not in a direct legal or Census Bureau policy sense, and not because California is at the center of things, but because the failed campaign shows what can happen when our community, our faces, our numbers are hidden from view, as they were in most of the No on 8 communications.

  9. Banne says

    Our numbers are not hidden from view. The issue here is marriage…who is married and who isn’t. You are still allowed to put unmarried couples/partners. I know a lot of straight people who are legally not married and will be required to put that as their household relationship. Does it suck that we can’t put married because we want to be? Yes, but that isn’t the issue. If you are not legally married, you can’t put it.

    That said, the biggest glaring issue are the gays who ARE married legally in MA and CT. What do you do there? Again, the answer: federal government does not recognize any of those marriages.

    So again, what does this have to do with Prop 8? Nothing. Gays in CA, just like gays in every other state other than MA and CT are not married, in the legal sense of the word.

    How anyone is surprised by this shocks me? If you are not legally married, you can’t say you are for the census.

  10. says

    Activists who have the balls to suggest civil disobedience have urged folks to file taxes as married (if you considered yourself married); we should also do as Alan Brickman suggests above and mark ourselves married on the census.

    The forgotten fact –
    (say that 3x while clicking your heels)


  11. Sam says

    I’m checking black even though I’m white. And telling them I’m 25. Because honestly I feel like I am 25 instead of in my 30s. It doesn’t change the reality that I am not either of those things.

  12. Jeffrey says

    Why do you guys only mention MASS and CT when talking about legitimate marriages.
    There are over 18,000 same-sex couples who were legally married, remain legally married, and probably will continue to be legally married in California.

  13. paul c says

    I agree with JJ. This isn’t neccessarily the worst thing, if only because we will still be extremely undercounted.

    What percentage of openly gay people are actually in relationships that would be counted in the first place? Right off the bat, it looks like there are fewer gays than there are in reality because only couples would be counted.

    Then what percentage of those people would be willing to put it in writing n a government form? Not all of them, that’s for sure.

    I think it would just produce low numbers that would feed into the religious rights’ whacked out 2% statistics.

  14. Sam says

    I agree with Paul, but who cares if 2% is a reality? Why should it matter if there are only 2% of Americans who want to marry a partner of the same sex? It shouldn’t.

    My issue is that marriage, in the legal sense, is a contract with legal ramifications. So until you are legally married, you shouldn’t be classified as such on a census. We do not let straight couples who are unmarried do it.

    MA and CT keeps coming up because the marriages there remain legal. If by the time of the census the marriages in CA are as well or continue to be as well, then sure, group them in. It’s all fairly moot until the federal government recognizes any of them. I just simply think it takes entirely too long for bureaucracy to change. It seems likely by the 2020 census, the federal government will recognize gay relationships in some form for taxation purposes and when it does, the census will likely change with it.

    I just don’t see how lying on a census to say you’re married when legally you aren’t does anything substantial.

  15. John in CA says

    The White House is interested in the census is because it’ll determine the distribution of electoral votes and seats in the House of Representatives. State and local officials are interested in the census because federal funding is often tied to how large a metropolitan area is.

    Gays are interested in the census because? Well, I don’t know why. Perhaps someone might explain to me why this process matters to us. Married or not – it isn’t like we’re going to get anything out of it with DOMA still law.

  16. Gianpiero says

    Those who claim, at this point, that the 18,000 California marriages are not legal have fallen for the propaganda of our opponents. No such determination has been made by any agency of the state government.

  17. matt says

    LIFESTYLE?! ao freakin demeaning.

    At the same time, isn’t that what the census measures – how people are living, and where? Pretty much every element in it – from faith to culture to class, is an attempt to gauge how people live.

    And yet again, if this bitch really thinks the marriage and family question is so unimportant – we should counter with: Hey! You’re right! That marriage and parental thing is just a lifestyle question, and as such should be removed from the census, rather than continue to provide flawed, inaccurate data. Every couple should just listed as an unmarried couple, and every child counted as the child of a single, unmarried partner.

  18. Random says

    It is not considered marriage for a man and a man to unite, nor a woman and a woman. And no, gay people cannot have children, it is scientifically impossible. Therefore, why does this subject matter? Ohh, that’s right, gays and lesbians want “rights”, you had the right to be straight, but you turned “curved”. That is your decision.

Leave A Reply