U.S. Census Has ‘Policy of Self-Identification’ for Same-Sex Couples

By Susan Jones | March 9, 2010 | 11:17 AM EST

(CNSNews.com) - What kind of questions are going to be on the U.S. Census form? Just ten “basic” questions, says the U.S. Census Bureau. And on a question about relationships, same-sex couples may go with personal preference rather than truth.
According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the 2010 Census form will allow same-sex couples to labels themselves as “husband or wife,” even if the relationships are not recognized by law.
"We have a policy of self-identification," the newspaper quoted Igor Alves, a media specialist with the Census Bureau, as saying. "If they want to put husband or unmarried partner, that is up to them. We basically want to tally what they select."
The Census form will be mailed next week, according to an advance letter sent to 120 million U.S. households on Monday. The advance letter urges households to complete the 10-question form when it arrives and to return it in the accompanying prepaid envelope as soon as possible.
The Census Bureau notes that for the first time in history, it is sending a bilingual advance letter and form to more than 13 million households in areas where Spanish is predominantly spoken at home.
“The advance letter helps people know that their 2010 Census form will be arriving soon,” said Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves. “It's an important reminder about the impact the census has on our communities, that the census is important and that everyone needs to participate.”
Census workers last week started hand-delivering census forms to 9 percent of addresses in areas where many households lack traditional city-style postal addresses. That includes hand-delivery along hurricane-affected areas of the Gulf Coast.
A video on the U.S. Census Web site explains the ten “basic” questions that U.S. residents will find on the form. They include name, age and date of birth, gender, race, and the Hispanic origin of each person living at a particular address.
Notably, the video shows a person writing the “C-o-l-u-m-b-i-a” as the Hispanic country of origin. However, the country is spelled “Colombia.”