2010 Census: Gay Marriage to be Counted for First Time in US
The 2010 Census in the United States will count gay married couples for the first time in US history.
Recent speculation that the White House would begin counting gay married couples in the 2010 census were confirmed Thursday, June 25, though a press release was not issued. The questionnaire format will remain unchanged, offering the choice of "husband or wife" and "unmarried partner" to describe a household relationship. A Human Rights Campaign website is spreading the word, advising same-sex married couples to check the former now, instead of the latter.
Before 2000, there was no option for same-sex couples on the census form. If a gay partner checked "husband or wife", the census bureau altered what they assumed to be an error in designating gender. Since 2000, married same-sex couples could only designate themselves as "unmarried partners".
"This is a huge win for our community," said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Our community and allies stood up and refused to allow same-sex marriages, our families, and our children to be rendered invisible in the picture of our country provided through the census."
The inclusion of same-sex couples who are legally married is significant for several reasons, all of which can help lead the way towards further acceptance and rights-expanding of gay couples and gay marriage in the country.
Numbers count in Washington – they justify programs, illustrate the need for certain bills, and give a sense of size for a particular voting bloc. And they can counter a general tendency toward simply ignoring the existence of gays.
In response to the news, representatives Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), and Jared Polis (D-Colorado), who are gay, released a statement applauding the 2010 census inclusion of same-sex married couples. This comes shortly after anger from the LGBT community emerged regarding a Justice Department brief about gay marriage.