A First for Gay Couples: 131,729 Reported in Census That They’re Married

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Last year’s U.S. Census was the first time gay respondents could report themselves as married to a same-sex husband or wife.

More than 130,000 did so, but experts estimate the actual number of gay married couples to be lower, around 100,000. They assume a discrepancy believing that some couples who are not legally married think of their relationship as a marriage, and might report it as such.

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The number of Americans who said they were living with same-sex partners nearly doubled to 650,000 from a decade ago, showing a greater willingness of gay people to identify themselves as couples. But this figure is probably still lower than reality — researchers estimate by up to 15% — as homosexuals still face social stigmas and some prefer not to divulge their true sexual orientation.

According to Census data, same-sex partners that are married or living together make up only about 0.5% of U.S. households. Same-sex couples were reported in every state, including some marriages in states where gay marriage is not legal. The total number of gay marriages now is expected to have well exceeded the reported 130,000, because of New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage this year, after the Census was taken.

For the 2000 Census, citing the Defense of Marriage Act, the Bush administration ordered the Census Bureau to recode same-sex-marriage responses to instead be counted as unmarried partnerships. Obama reversed the decision in 2009. (via AP)

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