U.S. Census Now Recognizes Same-Sex Marriages

In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau will be counting and recording the number of same-sex
marriages in the United States.This visibility is another way that
LGBT civil rights are being recognized and respected. A large part
of why this major step forward was possible is due to the hard work
of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, who
has spent months campaigning for equal recognition.

The decision to count same-sex marriages in the national census
repeals an earlier decision made under the Bush Administration.
Before now, the Defense of Marriage Act had prevented the federal
government from recognizing legal, state-mandated same-sex
marriages. However, on Friday, June 19th, 2009, the White House
stated that the Defense of Marriage Act doesn’t prohibit the
federal government from gathering this information.The forms
themselves do not require any changes, with boxes for genders of
people living in the households and self-reported statuses of
relationships such as “husband”, “wife” or “unmarried partner”.

The Bureau encourages people filling out the census to fill it out
accurately. In the 2000 census, couples in civil unions or
partnerships self-identified as husbands or wives. The Census
Bureau faces the task of separating those who identify as married
and those who are legally married.

“This is about folks’ identity,” said Steve Jost, a spokesperson
for the U.S. Census Bureau. “We are experienced in dealing with
changing social phenomena and how to measure and report that, and
we want to get it right.”