WP: Census Bureau Releases Guidelines for Same-Sex Couple Data
August 3, 2009
An update from HRC Senior Counsel Brian Moulton following up on Ché Ruddell-Tabisola's census post from Friday:
According to the Washington Post, after their meeting with HRC and Task Force staff last week, Census Bureau officials have released guidelines describing how they will process Census 2010 responses by married same-sex couples, as well as an opinion by the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce on why the Defense of Marriage Act does not preclude collecting and releasing data on those couples. The latter opinion is a very positive step, taking a much narrower view of the scope of DOMA than the Bush Administration’s conclusion that, although the Census does not use the terms “marriage” or “spouse,” the Bureau should “consider DOMA … to make the reported Federal data useful.” As part of our more than 70 recommendations to the Obama administration for policy and regulatory changes that will improve the lives of LGBT people, HRC has laid out a number of areas in which DOMA need not preclude recognition of same-sex couples and their children by the federal government. We are pleased the Census Bureau has abandoned its overbroad interpretation of DOMA and will release the unaltered data about married same-sex couples. We look forward to working with them to continue to improve the way data on LGBT people and our families is collected and reported.