The Consitutionally mandated decennial census begins in March. Will your same-sex relationship be counted?
The task of the US Census is to count every man, woman and child in the country and in the past has measured everything from income, to housing to health insurance, to illegal aliens. One of the most important tasks of the Census is for the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives, from which are dervied the total number of electors to the Electoral College - who ultimately vote for our President.
Since 1990 the census has included a designation of "unmarried partner" on the form, it was the first time that same-sex relationships could at least somewhat be acknowledge. Unfortunately there is no question on the census that allows citizens to designate their sexual identity.
This year there are only 10 questions on the form this year, one of the shortest in history. Adding a question specifically about sexual oritentation will take quite some time to get included, but at least now if you are in a committed relationship you can attempt to be counted. This years census only asks for name, sex, age, date of birth, hispanic origin, race, household, whether you own or rent your home and your relationship.
You can still make your gay voice be heard by requesting a copy of the sticker at the top of this page and affix it to your US Census envelope when you return it to the government. Head over to Queer the Census and request your own sticker to tell the government that we need to be included.
If you are in a committed same-sex partnership and you live with your partner, click through to see the best way to mark your answers on the Census.
Even though the results aren't officially reported, the raw numbers reveal that 145,000 same-sex couples identified as married or "unmarried partners" in 1990 (before any legal recognition in the U.S. even existed) and close to 600,000 same-sex couples self-reported in 2000. The Obama administration has reversed a Bush-era policy, so in the 2010 Census, a report will be released that outlines official information about same-sex couples. Here are some quick instructions on how to make sure your family is reported correctly.
What Box Do You Check?
If you are in a relationship and you live together, you have two choices. First, one of you will be designated as "Person 1." If there is no clear favorite for who should be the head of household, perhaps you could flip a coin, wrestle for it or hold a lip-synching competition. Whoever doesn't win will be designated as "Person 2." This person is asked how they are related to Person 1. There are 16 choices, but the two that concern you are "husband or wife" and "unmarried partner."
This is the important part: You do not answer based on the actual legal status of your relationship, you answer based on how you personally categorize your relationship. If you are legally married, you will probably mark down "husband or wife," though if you are in a civil union or domestic partnership, yet you still feel married, than you should also mark "husband or wife." If there is no legal recognition of your relationship where you live, but you still consider yourself married, it's also important that you mark "husband or wife."