by Rex Wockner
The U.S. government will not count married gay couples in the 2010 census, the San Jose Mercury News reported July 12.
Instead, same-sex couples who accurately report that they are married will have their response tabulated by the Census Bureau as if they had checked “unmarried partners.”
Same-sex marriage is legal in California and Massachusetts. In addition, New Yorkers who marry in those states or abroad are recognized as married in New York state.
The Mercury News said the Census Bureau’s decision was based on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) “and other mandates.”
DOMA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, states, in part: “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California Los Angeles law school, told the newspaper that the bureau’s decision “goes against everything the census stands for.”
“It’s a systematic hiding not only of married gay couples, but gay couples as families, which I would argue is a fundamentally political decision,” Gates said.