Quantcast

The White House is ‘seeking ways’ to count same-sex couples in 2010 Census

By pams
Friday, June 19, 2009 15:23 EDT
google plus icon
 
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

Following Amanda’s post on the right-wing paranoia machine and the 2010 Census, this should give them agita. Pass the Pepto to the fringe…

Every government measure that quantifies the US citizenry must permit LGBT individuals to self-identify and be counted in every way citizens are counted.
– From Call to Action # 6 of The Dallas Principles
There has been tremendous pressure on the White House to do more than crumb-throwing to the LGBT community since its DOMA brief debacle. It has resulted in this development in the WSJ:
White House Looks to Include Same-Sex Unions in Census Count

The White House said Thursday it was seeking ways to include same-sex marriages, unions and partnerships in 2010 Census data, the second time in a week the administration has signaled a policy change of interest to the gay community.

The administration has directed the Census Bureau to determine changes needed in tabulation software to allow for same-sex marriage data to be released early in 2011 with other detailed demographic information from the decennial count. The bureau historically hasn’t released same-sex marriage data.

This is potentially huge (and politically contentious), as we don’t officially “exist” if we aren’t counted. If gay and lesbian couples are counted, that pulls the curtain back, for good or ill — how many are going to come out of the closet and be counted? That’s where the rubber hits the road in terms of our own accountability in effecting change. We have also have to deal with problems of nailing down what is “married” due to the patchwork of marriage/civil unions/domestic partnerships — and legal marriages performed outside of this country.
An accurate statistical snapshot of legally married same-sex couples may be elusive. Before the White House’s plan emerged, Howard Hogan, associate director for demographic programs at the Census Bureau, said data from its 2007 American Community Survey showed more than 340,000 same-sex couples as being in marriages. But according to data from Massachusetts, the only state that permitted gay marriages in 2007, about 11,000 marriage licenses were issued for same-sex couples.

…The original plan for handling these marriages in the 2010 Census was controversial among some statisticians and gay activists. Following procedures employed in 2000, the bureau had planned to use a computer program that recategorized spouses in same-sex marriages as unmarried partners. For the 1990 count, the bureau simply altered the gender designation of one partner.

But realistically, notice the phrase “seeking ways.” Unfortunately, this WSJ article doesn’t indicate there is an effort to officially count and report transfolk in this proposal. Will it? Even with this potential bone, it’s not a done deal and thus may remain a promise unfulfilled. Yet again DOMA, which this administration is defending, stands in the way.
The Census Bureau has long collected data on same-sex marriages when people chose to report it. White House officials said the previous administration interpreted the federal Defense of Marriage Act as prohibiting the release of the data. The Obama administration has abandoned that interpretation.
How can it at once abandon the interpretation yet still support DOMA. I’m not talking legal technicalities here, I’m talking intellectually? This seems like a giant mess of declaring one-man, one-woman marriage “real” and alternately saying same-sex marriages exist and should be recognized by the U.S. government. It can’t be both so I’m sure the big brains out there can clue us in on how the Department of Commerce, which handles the Census, can square that.

 
 
 
 
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
 
Google+