Friday, July 18, 2008

Call For Action & Accuracy

Back in 2000, I had a temporary job with the U.S. Census Bureau as an enumerator. I went through a training course and learned how to accurately and thoroughly gather and report data. Making sure that maps were correct, new homes noted and finding out how many folks were living in communities was all very important. My work with the Census Bureau was sometimes challenging, (especially after a negative editorial was printed in a regional newspaper) but always interesting. Some folks were kind; some were rude and mean spirited. Some people, often elderly, were obviously lonely and happy to find another human being standing on their front porch. Even if all I was there to do was gather some basic information and deliver their Census form.

Working for the Census Bureau also strengthened my respect for how important home ownership is to folks. Some people had exquisitely tidy and well tended yards, others, well, looked like the before photos for a house and garden makeover show. But people were proud of what they had, protective of it and seemed to love making it more their own. Sometimes that seemed to mean making it look more like the before photo, or planting a whole flock of plastic pink flamingos or operating earth moving equipment of all sizes to reshape the very land itself. But the important thing was it was theirs and it provided them and their family, with safety, shelter and a deep sense of place.

Unfortunately, I learned today that the United States Census Bureau will EDIT the data which will be carefully gathered by enumerators and submitted by individual citizens during the 2010 Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau will NOT count legally married gay couples as married. Instead, the U.S. Census Bureau will EDIT the data submitted by married gay couples and change their status to "unmarried partners"!

An excellent organization, People For The American Way, has organized an on-line petition to the U.S. Census Bureau. You can sign the petition here. I urge you to take action on this. As Dan Kennedy of Media Nation reported the other day in this post, “one in five Americans lives in a state where same-sex marriage is recognized”.

We can’t allow the Census Bureau to edit out the fact that a same-sex couple is legally married. You can tell them it’s wrong by signing the PFAW petition.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the heads up.
Every genealogist and family historian should get involve with this dialogue!

I'm passing the word!

"Guided by the Ancestors"

Roo said...

Edit the census? there is something fundamentally wrong about it all. You can't just erase a persons status, especially if you have asked them (I assume by law) to give a true and frank answer.... deeply disturbing

Pink Granite said...

Hi George -
I'm so glad you've taken up the cause over on your blog. I appreciated your perspective on genealogist 72 years hence trying to sort out fact from fiction.
- Lee

Hi Roo -
I absolutely agree, it is deeply disturbing. I know from a follow up e-mail from PFAW that there were at least 11,000 signatures in the first day or so. Clearly we need more folks to speak up. But I hope the Census Bureau reverses their position.
- Lee