Census workers at the Bridge Jubilee in Selma this year
For gay and lesbian citizens in relationships this is a first time opportunity. After at first saying that same sex couples would not be counted, now we are told that we will be. None of that extrapolating results like was done after the 2000 Census to make educated guesses about the number of same sex couples.
OK, but we have choices to make. The form asks how Person 2 is related to Person 1. Among the choices are "Husband or wife", "Roomer or boarder", "Housemate or roommate", and "Unmarried partner". For those in serious relationships, "Husband or wife", or "Unmarried partner", are the choices to consider.
In our situation, we do consider ourselves married, or with the equivalency of marriage as far as our family, friends and Valentine's Day cards are concerned. We may have come close to getting married in 2008 but Prop 8 interfered. So we have no legal status of marriage and none of the over 1000 Federal and state benefits that married heteros have.
We do have friends in this state who are legally married (in other states) but whose marriage is not recognized here, or by the feds.
The Census instructions say that "common law" marriages count in the husband or wife category.
The Census folks say that we will be counted. That both those who check "Husband or wife" or "Unmarried partner" will be counted as "same-sex couples" (if the Person 1 is of the same sex as Person 2).
We checked "Unmarried partner" because if we consider ourselves married on the only federal form that gives us that option, then it seems we have nothing left to fight for. In other words, if all the gay couples considered themselves married on this form, it could be said by the marriage foes that we already have marriage in our own eyes.
Please complete your form appropriately, whether you are gay or str8, married or not, and mail it in because it does help determine how we are represented in Washington and the number of federal $ we get.