For the first time in its 200-plus year history, the Census will count same-sex couples who identify as married. The survey allows respondents to self-identify as ‘husband’ or ‘wife,’ regardless of whether or not the couple has a valid marriage license.
For the past two censuses, in 1990 and 2000, the bureau altered its data. In 1990 it changed the gender of one spouse and recorded the couple as opposite-sex couples. In 2000 it changed self-identified same-sex couples to “unmarried couples.” Last year the Obama Administration reversed an old Bush policy and released the number of same-sex couples recorded by the Census Bureau in its annual American Community Survey.
Though the 2010 count will not count the total number LGBT Americans, it will provide lawmakers with the most comprehensive dataset to date. This information will finally give an accurate look at the demographics of gay couples.
EQCA is already working to make sure the 2020 Census accurately reflects the LGBT community in the United States.
"If we want to change things in 2020 we need to start working now when we have a supposedly friendly president and supposedly friendly Congress," Geoff Kors, Equality California executive director said to the Bay Area Reporter.
Back in June, EQCA Board of Directors President Cary Davidson joined a committee to help ensure California’s portion of the census will be a complete and inclusive representation of the state’s population. Equality California also hosted the 2010 Census LGBT Community Roundtable with the U.S. Census Bureau to gather input on the importance of the 2010 Census for the LGBT community.
Along with the census next year the citizens of California will be redrawing our districts. Did you know that sexual orientation will have to be considered during the redistricting process, thanks in part to the work of EQCA? Start thinking ahead, because we need citizen applicants for the commission who are LGBT-friendly.