At Monday’s Task Force awards event, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn spoke quite a bit about the how the 2010 census will require legally married gay couples to lie about their status. Yesterday she and her boss released a letter to the feds decrying the policy.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council speaker are urging federal census officials to include same-sex marriages in the 2010 count, an issue that has taken on greater significance in recent weeks as more gay couples are being allowed to marry. The federal law banning gay marriage bars the agency from counting same-sex marriages, the Census Bureau says, even though they are legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and, most recently, Vermont and Iowa. Last summer, census officials announced that legally married same-sex couples would be reported as unmarried, same-sex partners. In the April 7 letter to Gary Locke, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the Census Bureau, Bloomberg and Christine Quinn wrote that counting same-sex marriages is crucial for state and local officials who use census data to plan for programs and social services. “Although we understand that federal law may not recognize same-sex marriages for the purposes of administration of federal benefits programs,” they wrote, “we do not believe it prevents the Census Bureau from reporting statistics from the forms of self-identifying same-sex couples married under state law, like all married couples.”
A spokesman for the Commerce Department responded by saying that the agency is reviewing its policies to ensure an accurate count in 2010.