This year’s U.S. Census will be the first to count same-sex marriages. In the last nationwide count, if a gay couple indicated that they were married, the Bureau of the Census simply counted them as unmarried partners. That will now change as part of a new policy that will be the featured topic of the Latino LGBT Forum, which will be held Saturday in Highland Park. “We are working to assure the most accurate count possible by disseminating information about the new LGBT policy, how the Census form should be filled out to assure that LGBT couples are counted and encourage participation,” said Joseph Arroyo of Equality California, which is co-hosting the forum with other groups. Matt Weinstein with Census Bureau said his agency has launched an “unprecedented” outreach to the gay community as it prepares to count all married couples.
Weinstein, in an email, provided a bit more background about the previous and current policy on counting married couples:
“2010 is the first time the Census will count same-sex couples as being married, if they check the box for “husband or wife” on the Census form. We’ve been tracking same-sex couples since the 1990 Census, but only in the “unmarried partner” category, which is intended for boyfriends, girlfriends, and other kinds of partners. In 2000, if a same-sex couple indicated they were married, they would have been counted as unmarried partners. This year, we will be counting couples however they identify their relationship (either as married or unmarried partners), and we won’t be editing their responses as we have in the past. It’s important to note that, because of self-identification, we’re counting married same-sex couples in all 50 states, and not just the handful that recognize same-sex marriages.”
The forum, which is free, begins at 10 AM but the discussion on the Census starts at 1 PM.