The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it will not be counting gay marriages in its 2010 nationwide count of Americans and how they live. In fact they will “edit” the responses of legally married gay couples to change their status to “unmarried partners.”
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. “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.
Shannon Minter of the National Center For Lesbian Rights: “To have the federal government disappear your marriage I’m sure will be painful and upsetting. It really is something out of Orwell. It’s shameful.”