New 2010 census data released on married same-sex couples

The U.S. Census Bureau today released its new estimates of the number of households headed by same-sex couples in the United States, including the number of couples identifying as married. The 2010 census marked the first time the Census Bureau tracked information about same-sex spouses. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force played a key role in getting the U.S. Census Bureau to report the number of married same-sex couples in the 2010 census, and continues to work with policymakers to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are included in a broad swath of federal surveys and data collection.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive Director Rea Carey says:

The data released today represent another step in erasing the invisibility of our lives. No longer are our marriages rendered invisible in the snapshot of our country provided through the census. And no longer can anyone ignore the presence of our relationships all across the country.

While this marks a huge step forward, it is not the end of the journey. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals still are not counted in the census or dozens of other surveys that are supposed to reflect the diversity of people in America. When LGBT people are not counted, we don’t ‘count’ when it comes to money for services, resources and programs. Census and other data are the basis for how the government spends billions of dollars each year. Without an accurate count, LGBT people are forced to go without funding for real, everyday services and remain virtually nonexistent in the eyes of our government. This is unacceptable. We continue to work with policymakers to ensure LGBT people are included in data collection on a broad spectrum of critical issues, including those involving our health, our families, our economic well-being, our safety and much more.

Task Force staff met with Obama transition team members to educate them about the need to count married same-sex couples, and provided concrete ways for them to make this change. We pressed the issue 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 addition, the Task Force Policy Institute convened several LGBT organizations to meet with top census officials. The Task Force also partnered with the Williams Institute to provide officials with research essential to making this change, and undertook a major grassroots campaign to both educate the public on this issue and to apply pressure to the administration.

The Task Force also launched a “Queer the Census” campaign, aimed at getting LGBT people counted in the next census. People were encouraged to place a sticker on the back of their 2010 census envelopes that asked the U.S. Census Bureau to count us all. More than 140,000 stickers were sent in and more than 30,000 people signed a petition demanding the inclusion of LGBT lives in efforts like the census.