The White House said Thursday it was seeking ways to include same-sex marriages, unions and partnerships in 2010 Census data.
The administration has directed the Census Bureau to determine changes needed in tabulation software to allow for same-sex marriage data to be released early in 2011 with other detailed demographic information from the decennial count. The bureau historically hasn’t released same-sex marriage data.
The new direction is a stark departure from the Bush administration, which collected the data but barred its release.
The Census Bureau has long collected data on same-sex marriages when people chose to report it. White House officials said the previous administration interpreted the federal Defense of Marriage Act as prohibiting the release of the data. The Obama administration has abandoned that interpretation.
Earlier this week, President Obama issued a directive providing federal employees protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and an expansion of some benefits to same-sex partners.