September 14th, 2009
That is a question that will be asked on the 2010 US Census and it you’re heterosexual it’s a pretty easy question to answer. But not if you are a same-sex couple.
Sure, if you live in Massachusetts and are married in the eyes of your state, or if you’re a single guy or gal who is living footloose and fancy free, then you know your answer. But what if you’re somewhere in between?
Suppose you live in South Dakota and you have made vows before your community blessed by your place of worship and honored by your friends and family. Are you married?
Or suppose that you live in New Jersey and entered into a civil union which has “everything but the name”. Are you married?
Or you live in California where the Supreme Court justified the implementation of Proposition 8 by stating that domestic partnerships are acceptable equality provided that there not any provisions offered differently between domestic partnerships and marriage. Is “included on the census” a difference? Are you married?
Or you married in Connecticut but live in Virginia. Traveling cross country would have you married on one day and total strangers on the next. Or if you live in Rhode Island and the state has told you that it will not grant you a divorce for your legal Massachusetts wedding. Are you married?
At some point, state law almost becomes moot in answering this census question. Because recognition based on one’s current residence may dictate whether one’s marriage is recognized, but say very little about whether one is married. At some point the real answer becomes, “Yes, in the eyes of my family, my friends, my employer, my neighbors, my community, my city government, my church and, most importantly, me and my spouse, I am married. And if my state can’t ‘recognize’ that simple fact, then it needs to clean its glasses.”
And that is just how same-sex couples are expected to answer questions about their marriage status in next year’s census count. (WaPo)
When the U.S. Census Bureau counts same-sex married couples next year, demographers expect hundreds of thousands to report they are spouses — even though legal same-sex weddings in the United States number in the tens of thousands.
The Post goes on to suggest that the primary motivation for this will be to provide a basis for advocating for gay rights. And indeed, the data will be used to show that gay people are everywhere in this nation and that even the most conservative representative in the reddest state has married gay constituents he needs to serve.
But I think the motivation will be much more primal and personal. I think couples will tick the “married” box because, well, they are. And what else could you expect them to answer?
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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