Alex Blaze

Census will release raw data on same-sex marriages

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 03, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Census Bureau, gay marriage, marriage, poll, same-sex marriage, US Census

w00t, the Census is at least going to release the raw data on same-sex married couples for 2010:

"Later in 2011, the Census Bureau will release detailed tabulations from the 2010 Census, including counts from the relationship question," said a statement from the Commerce Department. "A footnote will indicate that there are no same-sex couples included in the husband/wife relationship category. At the same time, the Census Bureau will release counts from the relationship question, by state, that show the unedited data [that is, which do not recode same-sex couples who report themselves as husband/wife]."

This sort of thing is important - for a variety of reasons, it's in everyone's best interests to at least know how many same-sex married couples there are in the several states that have legalized it. They may not include those couples in the official count, but there is a large enough interest among certain social scientists, local and state policy-makers, and LGBT activists to have the most accurate count possible, which, really, only the Census has the ability to accomplish.

Waiting until 2020 just isn't an option considering how fast laws are changing in this area.

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Credit for this goes to the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School. Senior research fellow Gary Gates, who has produced most of the demographic reports on same-sex couples from previous census data, has relentlessly urged this result. Here's the op ed he wrote last year on the subject:
Good work, Gary!

to regard this as anything less than excellent is foolish. to have a proper count, to recognize the true status of gay marrieds, is essential to the country at large.

Angela Brightfeather | August 4, 2009 10:50 AM

Here it comes again, the census, with no way to verify any number of Transgender or gender diverse people on it.

It isn't so much that it will have nothing on it in the way of questions that could enlighten us on the number of Trans relationships and people in the U.S. It is the fact that nothing is being asked to verify any data at all! Once again placing Trans people into the category of "invisible" and so stigmatized, that they must be doing something to be ashamed of. Therfore, don't come out and be visisble in any appreciable numbers. It's the same philosophy they use in counting those who vote after the vote. Everyone knows that Trans people don't vote, don't they? Not one has ever been listed as casting a vote anyway.

One solution to this might be for Transgender people who are in relationships and living with an opposite sex partner, to answer the question of their status from the perspective of a Transgender person. If your CD and not living 24/7, your still a Transgender person and living at least part time with an opposite sex person in what would appear as a same sex, legal marriage. So your answers might come from that perspective.

Another way is to refuse to accept the gender classifications of Male or Female and insist on Transgender or None being noted in the census. This would be both brave and liberating I would think.

Transgender people who are post op and living with an opposite sex partner should most likely identify your relationsip as your state identifies it. If your state does not let you change the gender on your birth certificate, then it most likely does not consider you in an opposite sex relationship. Therefore, even post op, you should probably be listed as being in a same sex relationship.

Until the laws of this land recognize that there are more than two kinds of gender in this world, Transgender people will be forced to live in the shadows morally, ethically, profesionally, and poltically. Which makes them subject to harrasment, discrimination or forces them inot living invisibly.

If the census bureau can ask a question about marital status or relationships that has more than three choices, why can't they have at least three choices for gender? Male, Female, Other.

Of course that is presuming that a person's gender is more basic than their marital status in the first place. Which of course, it most certainly is to anyone with a lick of common sense.

I also wish there were some way to count LGB people instead of just same-sex married couples. Even if same-sex marriage were legal in every state, no where near 100% of us would participate. I estimated on this site a while back that it would be around 8-10%, but maybe if it got so normalized by that point it would be around like 30%.

Anyway, I don't know if something like that it something one can count accurately. Maybe they could ask if someone had ever changed the sex listed on their BC or driver's license? It wouldn't really count everyone, of course, but it could give people an idea of how much those procedures get used.

Sexuality would be hard to pin down, because folks like Larry Craig are straight, women who never have sex with other women but are attracted to them are bisexual, many gay men and lesbians have had opposite-sex experiences, etc. Maybe they could just ask, like, if you identify as any of the following, check one, and then list "gay," "transgender," "transsexual," "CD," "bisexual," etc.

Maybe just asking would be the best way to go....

Although the way they did hispanics the last time around was kinda clever - they asked what race you identify as, and then asked if you had any hispanic background. I'm sure they can be clever when it comes to sex/sexuality/gender too.

Angela Brightfeather | August 4, 2009 1:24 PM


I think that by asking what sex a person is and offering three choices, Male, Female or Other, that would give some perspective.

If they ask what gender a person is and offer the same three choices, that would give another possible perspective.

Asking both of those questions would obviously melt and self destuct the minds of anyone who is right wing and follows Dobson or Palin, among a few.

So I think that it could be either question, with the assumption that "Other" in either case counts as falling someplace inside the GLBT Community.