Oklahoma gay rights groups applaud Census decision on couples

BY JOHN A. WILLIAMS Published: April 11, 2010
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Oklahoma gay rights organizations are praising the U.S. Census Bureau’s decision to allow same-sex couples who are married, or consider themselves to be married, to identify one person in the same house as "husband or wife.”

Scott Hamilton, the executive director of the Cimarron Alliance Foundation, an Oklahoma City-based gay rights advocacy group, said the decision could have a positive impact on the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"That’s a really big jump for the federal government, although the federal government does not recognize marriage between same-gendered persons, even if they were married legally as my partner and I were in the state of Connecticut,” he said. "It is a means of gaining a better understanding of how many people are in committed partnerships.”

Emmett Morris, a Census Bureau Partnership Coordinator in Kansas City, said, "It is up to the individual couples themselves to classify that difference. We’re not going about telling people how they should do that. It’s up for them to self identify and describe in responding to the census.”

A fact sheet on the Census Bureau’s Web site, 2010.census.gov, states, "Census data are based on how individuals self identify and how couples think of themselves.”

It goes on to state, "Same-sex couples who are married, or consider themselves to be spouses, can identify one other adult as a ‘husband or wife.’ Other same-sex couples may instead decide to use the term ‘unmarried partner.’”

The gay rights organization Oklahomans for Equality is encouraging the state’s same-sex married couples to check the married instead of the unmarried partner.