DOMA and the Census

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Last Friday, Gary Gates of UCLA’s Williams Institute had an interesting op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times. In the piece, he makes an argument for why the Census Bureau should not alter the responses of married same-sex couples to the 2010 census by reporting them as “unmarried” partners. The Census Bureau, of course, argues that the federal “defense of marriage” act (DOMA) confines marriage to the union of a man and a woman for all federal purposes, including the census. Gates makes the sensible argument that data on the number of married same-sex couples is something that policymakers and researchers could all benefit from and that the collection of data should not be driven by ideology. Unfortunately, I doubt that this argument will have any traction under the current administration (and might be too much of a lightning rod even for the next to take up so early on in its tenure).

-Anthony C. Infanti

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