Updated: Letter encouraging same-sex marriage to be counted in 2010 Census is sent to OMB
The Windy City Times reported on a letter written from members of Congress to the Office of Management and Budget that encouraged same-sex marriages to be recognized on the 2010 Census. Below is the article followed by the letter, which was obtained by MyTwoCensus obtained earlier today:
“United States Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis; Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Steven Israel, D-N.Y.; Jared Polis, D-Colo.; and nearly 50 other colleagues recently sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget ( OMB ) Director Peter Orszag, asking that the 2010 census count same-sex married couples, according to a Congressional press release.The landscape has changed greatly since the 2000 census, when no same-sex marriages were allowed in the U.S. Now, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and Iowa allow gay marriage, while other states seem to be on the verge of doing so.
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20515
May 14, 2009 Baldwin: Jerilyn Goodman 608-251-8737
Israel: Lindsay Hamilton 202-225-3335
Frank: Harry Gural 202-225-5931
Polis: Lara Cottingham 202-225-5693
Baldwin, Israel, Frank, Polis Ask Administration to Count Same-Sex Married Couples in 2010 Census
Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Steven Israel (D-NY), Barney Frank (D-MA) and Jared Polis (D-CO), joined by 47 colleagues, today sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag asking that the 2010 Census fairly count same-sex married couples.
When the last decennial census was conducted, no state permitted same-sex marriages. Today, same-sex couples may legally marry in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, and Iowa, other states are close to approving same-sex marriages, and still others recognize these marriages.
Last summer, citing the Defense of Marriage Act, the Bush Administration announced that lawfully married same-sex couples that truthfully mark “married” on their census forms would have their answers switched to “unmarried partners.”
“We are deeply concerned about the implications of this policy for same-sex couples and for the integrity of the census as a whole and firmly believe the (Census) Bureau’s primary objective should be to collect data and report it, not collect data and alter it,” the Members said in their letter.
The Members told Orszag they believe that publicly reporting data collected on the status of same-sex couples in the United States is not tantamount to federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Rather, public reporting simply provides basic information about how Americans respond to the Census Bureau’s questions.
“The Census is a vital tool of our democracy. Truthful answers must be recorded and publicly reported in order to ensure the most accurate count and the most democratic process. Americans who are legally married must not be marginalized,” Baldwin said.
“The Census is supposed to give us an accurate picture of American life, and I don’t know how anyone thinks we get that by altering the answers of legally married same-sex couples to say ‘unmarried partners.’ All married couples deserve to be treated equally,” Congressman Israel said.
“We are simply asking the Census Bureau to report the facts as they exist. This should not be controversial,” said Congressman Frank.
“It is disturbing to me that the Census would deliberately change answers given by citizens,” said Congressman Polis. “Not only does it undermine the accuracy of their own data, but it puts legal, committed relationships back in the closet. These couples are legally married under their state’s laws and deserve to have their families counted as such,” Polis said.
The Members asked Orszag to work with Secretary of Commerce Locke and the Census Bureau to “formulate an approach consistent with federal law that, at the same time, maintains the accuracy and integrity of the Census.”
A copy of the letter to OMB Director Orszag is attached.
The members of Congress said that they want the census to reflect reality. “We are deeply concerned about the implications of this policy for same-sex couples and for the integrity of the census as a whole and firmly believe the ( Census ) Bureau’s primary objective should be to collect data and report it, not collect data and alter it,” the members said in their letter.”