The Census Closet | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It
Favorite

The Census Closet 

It's been more than a decade since I came out of the ol' closet and told family and friends that I was attracted to women — a big deal both at my conservative college and in my Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist family.

These days I don't lie about myself or my family to anyone — except the federal government.

Every year on my tax forms, I tell the feds that I'm single, even though my partner and I have been civil unioned for 8 years and have one son, and another baby on the way (due any day!).

And in 2010, when the census rolls around, it looks like I'll have to lie once again. According to this article from the Mercury News, I'll have to say that Ann-Elise and I are "unmarried partners." Even though we made a legal commitment to each other that's recognized by the state of Vermont — even though all of our family and friends still tell us how much they enjoyed our wedding.

Why won't the U.S. government count same-sex married couples in the census? There are two states where gay couples can legally wed, in addition to the places where they can be joined in civil union. Why not count them? The government spokesman quoted in the story says they're not counting married same-sex couples because no federal agency collects data about them. Huh?

Here's demographer Gary Gates dissent:

"I just think it's badform for the census to change a legal response to an incorrectresponse," said Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, a think tank atthe University of California-Los Angeles law school that studiesgay-related public policy issues. "That goes against everything thecensus stands for."

Gates, a prominent demographer who was consulted by Census Bureauofficials about counting legally married same-sex couples, said oneresult is that the census will undercount marriages in states with gaymarriage. And because the bureau defines a "family" as two or morepeople related by birth, adoption or marriage, it also will remove manysame-sex married couples from being counted as families.

"It's a systematic hiding not only of married gay couples, but gaycouples as families, which I would argue is a fundamentally politicaldecision," Gates said...

"It's an official closet," Gates said, "that the government has built."

It sucks being forced back into the closet. Sucky, suck-dog closet.

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Tags: ,

Pin It
Favorite

More by Cathy Resmer

  • Turning Point Center Fights Addiction With Crafts and Community
  • Turning Point Center Fights Addiction With Crafts and Community

    Burlington's Turning Point Center is a refuge for Vermonters who are trying to find their way out of drug dependence. In the stairwell leading to the center, a mural depicts a giant hand reaching down to a solitary slouching figure. Just outside the center's door at the top of the stairs, is another message: "You are no longer alone."
    • Dec 13, 2017
  • More »

About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Bio:
Deputy publisher Cathy Resmer is an organizer of the Vermont Tech Jam, and compiles a weekly tech e-newsletter every Monday. She also oversees HR, helps manage Seven Days' digital staff and oversees its parenting publication, Kids VT. In 2018, she designed and administered a statewide youth civics project, the... more

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Recent Comments

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation