Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Unaccountable Accounting

Came across the link to this story on Andrew Sullivan's blog

Tens of thousands of same-sex couples are expected to marry legally in California by 2010, if a constitutional ban on gay marriage doesn't pass at the polls in November.

But no matter what the voters decide, the official government count of the number of married same-sex couples in California is not in doubt. It will be zero.

The U.S. Census Bureau, reacting to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and other mandates, plans to edit the 2010 census responses of same-sex couples who marry legally in California, Massachusetts or any other state. They will be reported as "unmarried partners," rather than married spouses, in census tabulations - a policy that will likely draw the ire of gay rights groups.

[snip]

"I just think it's bad form for the census to change a legal response to an incorrect response," said Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California-Los Angeles law school that studies gay-related public policy issues. "That goes against everything the census stands for."

Gates, a prominent demographer who was consulted by Census Bureau officials about counting legally married same-sex couples, said one result is that the census will undercount marriages in states with gay marriage. And because the bureau defines a "family" as two or more people related by birth, adoption or marriage, it also will remove many same-sex married couples from being counted as families.
I doubt that this sort of government-sanctioned hostility and faith-based irrationality will be prioritized for reform by an incoming Obama administration, but isn't it about time that we stopped forcing the data to fit our prejudices?

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posted at 12:02:00 PM by Neil

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