Dems Who Opposed Citizenship Question on Census Want to Ask About Sexual Orientation

By Susan Jones | August 1, 2018 | 7:17am EDT
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) (Photo: Screen capture)

( - The same Democrat senators who strongly opposed a citizenship question on the U.S. Census have just introduced legislation that would require the Census to ask people about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Senators Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Tom Carper (Del.), both members of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, on Tuesday introduced the Census Equality Act, which would require the decennial census to include sexual orientation/gender identity questions no later than 2030; and the separate American Community Survey (ACS) would have to include those questions no later than 2020.

The senators say they want to make sure the approximately 10 million Americans who identify as LGBTQ "are properly counted" and represented in data collection efforts. They believe that LGBTQ undercounting results in "an inadequate distribution of resources and social services, including Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)."

“The spirit of the census is that no one should go uncounted and no one should be invisible,” Harris said in a news release announcing the The Census Equality Act. “We must expand data collections efforts to ensure the LGBTQ community is not only seen, but fully accounted for in terms of government resources provided. This information can also provide us with better tools to enforce civil rights protections for a community that is too often discriminated against.”

“We have a responsibility to ensure the information collected by the census accurately reflects who we are as a society and that everyone is counted fairly,” Sen. Carper said. “While long overdue, I am proud that this legislation finally calls upon the Census Bureau to add a question to the Decennial Census and American Community Survey on sexual orientation and gender identity -- so that all Americans can be represented equally and have their voices heard.”

In March, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that a citizenship question would be included in the 2020 decennial census questionnaire to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Sens. Harris and Carper were among the Democrats strenuously objecting to the citizenship question.

In a March 30 letter to Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Harris, Carper and other Democrats said they were "concerned that the addition of the citizenship question is tainted by improper political considerations.” They said such a question would "depress participation of immigrants and U.S. citizens in mixed-status households who fear how government will use the information."

The Harris-Carper news release dated yesterday includes comments from homosexual activists, including Rea Carey, executive director for National LGBTQ Task Force. “The Census Equality Act will put the Census Bureau back on the path it initiated two years ago to count LGBTQ people,” she said. “We call on members of Congress to support a full, fair, and accurate Census by becoming co-sponsors of the Census Equality Act and opposing efforts to add an untested citizenship question to the Census.”

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