San Francisco U.S. Census Bureau officials said Friday that married same-sex couples will be counted as such in the 2010 national tally, reversing an earlier decision made under the Bush administration.
Steve Jost, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said officials already were identifying the technical changes needed to ensure the reliability of the information, but remained committed to providing an accurate tally of gay spouses.
“They will be counted, and they ought to report the way they see themselves,” Jost said. “In the normal process of reports coming out after the census of 2010, I think the country will have a good data set on which to discuss this phenomenon that is evolving in this country.”
Same-sex couples could not get married anywhere in the United States during the last decennial count. But last summer, when two states sanctioned gay unions, the bureau said those legal marriages would go uncounted because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prevented the federal government from recognizing them.
Since President Barack Obama took office, his administration has been under pressure from gay rights activists to take a fresh look at the issue. The White House on Friday announced that its interpretation of the act, known as DOMA, did not prohibit gathering the information. Gay marriage is now legal in six states, although the first weddings have not yet commenced in three of them.