Get counted. Today is the final day to mail in Census forms, and according to page 23 of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Census Questionnaire Reference Book, “people in formal marriages, as well as people in common law marriages” should declare each other husband and wife rather than unmarried partners. If you’ve tied the knot with your partner (even if it’s not legally recognized in your state), we suggest you take it a step further and circle either “husband” or “wife.” Make sure the federal government knows that you consider your relationship a marriage, even if they can’t seem to get on board.

The 2010 Census will be the first to report counts of both same-sex partners and same-sex spouses. The person filling out the form (Person 1) is asked to identify how all other individuals in the households are related to him or her. Census data are based on how individuals self identify and how couples think of themselves.

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.” In general, people who identify as unmarried partners are in a close personal relationship but are not married or do not think of themselves as spouses. Census data are based on how individuals self identify.

This includes same-sex couples that live somewhere that their relationship is not recognized.

Additional information can be found at http://2010census.gov, or contact Andrew McIlrath, partnership specialist for LGBT communities in Oregon, at andrew.p.mcilrath@census.gov or 503-507-0491.

And if you’re wondering why straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender isn’t even an option for being checked and you want to get more involved in helping the U.S. Census know we exist, visit Queer the Census. We also like Our Families Count for more resources on increasing our visability, as well as personal stories and videos from the LGBT community.

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