Press

Task Force applauds U.S. Census Bureau's decision to count married same-sex couples in 2010 census

Date: 
June 20, 2009

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Task Force staffers have been meeting with officials from the White House, Census Bureau and Commerce Department to press for this policy reversal

WASHINGTON, June 20 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds reports that the U.S. Census Bureau will count married same-sex couples in the 2010 census, reversing an earlier decision made under the Bush administration. Previously, same-sex couples only had the option of checking off "unmarried partner," which will remain an option. The Task Force has played a leading role in getting the Census Bureau to change course. Task Force staffers have been pressing for a reversal of the discriminatory policy in meetings that started in late 2008 with the Obama transition team, continuing later with officials from the White House, Census Bureau and Commerce Department.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"This is a huge win for our community. Our community and allies stood up and refused to allow same-sex marriages, our families and our children to be rendered invisible in the picture of our country provided through the census.

"After months and months of pressure through the grassroots campaign we waged and our in-person meetings with administration officials, the U.S. Census Bureau has reversed policy and will be accurately counting the thousands of same-sex couples who have worked so hard to have their love and commitment recognized.

"This gives us hope that we will also be able to get the federal government to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the data and reporting on other critical issues, including those having to do with our health, economic issues, safety and life circumstances. As a married person myself, I look forward to filling out the census form, knowing that my family will be counted accurately.

"We would like to thank Gary Gates of the Williams Institute for his years of work and for partnering with us to educate the administration on this critical issue of visibility for our community."

The Task Force's work leading to this victory

The Task Force has been working for months to secure a reversal of the discriminatory policy.

  • Task Force staff met with Obama transition team members to educate them about this critical issue, and to provide concrete ways for them to make this change.
  • Task Force staffers, including Executive Director Rea Carey and Policy Institute Director Jaime Grant, have been pressing for a policy change in meetings that started in late 2008 with the Obama transition team, continuing later with officials from the White House, Census Bureau and Commerce Department.
  • In February, the Task Force Policy Institute convened 20 leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organizations to meet with top census outreach officials. In this meeting, the groups collectively refused to engage in community outreach on the census until the anti-marriage policy was reversed.
  • The Task Force partnered with the Williams Institute to provide officials from the White House, Census Bureau and Commerce Department with research essential to making this change.
  • The Task Force undertook a major grassroots campaign to both educate the public on this issue and to apply pressure to the administration.
  • The Task Force worked with key elected officials to provide them with information so they could write letters to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and the incoming director of the Census Bureau to advocate for change.
  • The Task Force is part of a coalition of researchers and advocates crafting a community education campaign to launch following the change of policy.


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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.