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Obama Pressed To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages In 2010 Census

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One of the country's most junior Congressman is pressing President Obama to broaden the official recognition of same-sex married couples.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, who was elected in March to replace White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, sent a letter to Obama Tuesday urging the president to recognize same-sex marriages in the 2010 Census.

With some states officially recognizing same-sax marriages, Quigley wants the federal government to count those marriages in order to get an accurate reading of American lifestyles.

"This recognition of same-sex married couples will ensure the collection of proper and accurate data, so that the integrity of the Census is not jeopardized, which I fear will happen if this information is omitted," Quigley wrote.

The letter was a follow-up to an earlier one sent in May in which Quigley and several colleagues told the president they did not believe that simply reporting data about same-sex married couples in the 2010 Census is a recognition of same-sex marriage. They felt the omission, or "scrubbing" of the data from these couples, however, would misidentify and misrepresent many people who are legally married in a growing number of states across our country.

Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa currently recognize same-sex marriages, and similar laws are pending in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

The full text of Quigley's letter:

On May 14, 2009, I joined many of my colleagues in sending you a letter to voice our shared belief that same-sex married couples, in states that recognize the marriage, should be counted in the 2010 Census. This recognition of same-sex married couples will ensure the collection of proper and accurate data, so that the integrity of the Census is not jeopardized, which I fear will happen if this information is omitted.

As stated in our letter, my colleagues and I do not believe that simply reporting data about same-sex married couples in the 2010 Census is a recognition of same-sex marriage. However, the omission, or "scrubbing" of the data from these couples will misidentify and misrepresent many people who are legally married in a growing number of states across our country. Since the Census is a portrait of America, information about legally married, same-sex couples should not be "scrubbed" from the record.

Our letter, of May 2009, stated "It is our understanding that the Census Bureau officials are operating under an inaccurate Bush Administration interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that federal statistical agencies are prohibited from tabulating and reporting data on same-sex marriages. We firmly believe that publicly reporting data collected on the status of same-sex couples in the United States is not tantamount to federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Instead, public reporting simply provides basic information about how Americans respond to the Census Bureau's questions."

When I was elected, I promised to come to Congress to continue my work to ensure the civil rights and equal treatment of all Americans. I would not be upholding my promise if I let this opportunity pass by, for proper and equitable treatment of all Americans in the 2010 Census.

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