The Census Bureau plans to release raw data from the 2010 Census about the number of same-sex marriages in the United States, according to new guidelines issued Monday. The announcement reverses an earlier decision made under the Bush administration.
Same -sex couples “will be counted, and they ought to report the way they see themselves,” said Steve Jost, spokesperson for the Census Bureau. “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.”
Previously, the bureau said legal marriages would go uncounted because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prevented the federal government from recognizing them.
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Since President Barack Obama took office, his administration has been under pressure from gay rights activists to take a fresh look at the issue. In June, the White House announced that its interpretation of the act did not prohibit gathering the information, and directed the Census bureau to determine changes needed in tabulation software to allow for same-sex marriage data to be released early in 2011.
Same-sex marriage has been legalized in six states, although the first weddings have not yet commenced in three of them.