3-Minute Interview: Gary Gates

The demographer and senior research fellow at the Williams Institute, a think-tank at UCLA School of Law that focuses on sexual orientation, talks about the recent news that the U.S. Census will list same-sex marriages in California and Massachusetts — where they are legal — as “unmarried partners.”

How will the U.S. Census count same-sex married couples in 2010? They’re doing the same thing in 2010 as they did in 2000. Where one person is indicated as the spouse of another person and they're the same sex, they will change that to an unmarried couple.

Is this policy a problem? In Census 2000, when the bureau changed a same-sex spouse to an unmarried partner they were arguably changing an inaccurate response to a more accurate one, because there were no legally married same-sex couples in 2000. The problem today is that they are potentially changing accurate responses to inaccurate ones.

What are the repercussions of this policy? The issue of marriage for same-sex couples is one of the most hotly debated public policy issues right now in the country. Getting more information on same-sex couples who get married is important for that debate.

Did the agency provide reasons for its policy? The Census Bureau says that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act is what keeps it from counting same-sex couples. We believe that there are ways that the bureau can do that and not violate federal law.

3-Minute InterviewBay Area NewsCensusLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

Jazz pianist and composer Jon Jang is an instructor at Community Music Center in the Mission District. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Jon Jang composes bittersweet symphonies

Musician-activist’s works are steeped in civil rights history

Keith Doran, left, and the author celebrate a short but successful outing on El Capitan. (Courtesy photo)
Climb on: 50 lessons in 50 years, part 3

Series offers tips for adventurers seeking fulfillment outdoors

Most Read