Sorry, Your Marriages Don’t Count—Literally

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Rainbow-flagOnce again, we get some more double talk from the federal government:

The U.S. Census Bureau is making an unprecedented effort to include same-sex couples in next year’s national population count, but legally married gay couples won’t show up as such in the official once-a-decade tally, bureau representatives said Thursday.

Essentially, we said we’d count legally-married same-sex couples, but we’re not.

See if any of this makes sense to you:

Statistical problems related to the development of the 2010 census form and the evolving legal state of same-sex relationships led Census officials to conclude that trying to include married gay couples in the overall snapshot of household marital status could yield an inaccurate number, said Gary Gates, a University of California, Los Angeles demographer who has been advising the bureau on gay issues.

Instead, same-sex married couples will be added into the category for unmarried partners, just as they were for the 2000 census. But in a marked policy departure, the agency plans to make the data on same-sex couples who described themselves as married available on a state-by-state basis.

Are there political components to the census I’m not aware of? We’re talking about counting people, right? So, why can’t we just count people as they are? Is the census form so complicated that you can’t indicate the sex of your spouse?

And further, if the concern is inaccurate numbers, how is counting MARRIED PEOPLE AS UNMARRIED anywhere close to “accurate”?

Gates stressed that it was important for gay couples to participate in the census, noting that information drawn from the last one had been used in lawsuits dealing with same-sex marriage and to lobby congressional representatives who may wrongly assume they do not have many gay constituents.

Oh, that’s not patronizing at all. You should let us count you even if we’re counting you wrong because it’s for your own good.

Since then, however, it’s become clearer that a wildly inflated number could be produced if the number of heads of household who said they lived with another adult of the same sex, and described that person as a husband or wife, were only counted.

Some couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships, or who live as spouses in states where gay couples have no spousal rights, have tended in past surveys to identify themselves as husbands or wives anyway, according to Gates.

If this isn’t sufficient evidence that anything short of full marriage equality is “less than,” I don’t know what is!! The government is concerned only with counting legal partnerships, not just proclaimed partnerships, but since legal partnerships aren’t available in a standardized way, none of them count.

This whole article is insulting. It only gets worse by the end:

Olsen said gay leaders need to keep advocating if they want to be recognized.

“In terms of 2010, we are set in stone. For 2020, now is the time to start doing what you do best,” he said.

What, is the census bureau our coach now? Come on, gays, you aren’t trying hard enough!

I personally find this kind of talk insulting and infuriating. We are people living lives, but the way we live them literally doesn’t count.

Talk about a slap in the face.

Oh, and just a reminder to everyone out there: the US Census Bureau is part of the Department of Commerce. It reports to the President and its director is appointed by the President.

Thanks again, Obama.

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