Same-Sex Relationships Can Be Recognized On Census

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Although the 2010 U.S. Census doesn't ask people to reveal their sexual orientation, people in same-sex relationships have an opportunity to make that known on the census form.

According to Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) director Will Batts, LGBT people in relationships may opt to check "husband or wife" or "unmarried partner" in a section that asks questions about other people living in the home. The MGLCC (892 S. Cooper) is hosting an informational session with a 2010 U.S. Census worker on Thursday, March 11th at 6:30 p.m.

Sample 2010 Census form
  • Sample 2010 Census form

Since gay people aren't allowed to marry or have out-of-state marriages recognized in Tennessee, Batts suggest that people in same-sex relationships fill out the form according to how they view their relationship. In other words, even if you're not technically married, you should check "husband or wife" if you think of your partner in that role.

"They want us to share the most accurate information about our lives that we can. If we believe that we are married — like if we were married in another state but living in Tennessee — we need to record that," Batts said. "If we believe we are simply unmarried partners or roommates, that should be how we record our relationships. The census is not making judgment about our relationships. The census is collecting information from us about ourselves, so we should record that as honestly as we know how to."

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