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US Census begins recognising married same-sex couples as ‘families’

Nick Duffy September 21, 2014

The US Census Bureau has begun recognising married same-sex couples for the first time.

The Census had previously attracted criticism for counting all same-sex couples as “unmarried partners”, even if they were legally married.

However, following changes announced in May this year, all married couples – same-sex and straight – will finally be recognised in the same way.

The change was finally implemented this week in the American Community Survey, which looked at a range of factors including poverty, income and health.

Married couple Lynn Helms and Laura Murphey, who have a son together, were overjoyed to be counted as married for the census.

Mrs Helms told the Charlotte Observer: “We certainly talk about us as a family. It’s nice for the census to come into this century and do the same.”

Mrs Murphey agreed, adding: “It’s nice to be recognized. We see each other as a married couple on a day-to-day basis. [The census change] makes a difference in the bigger picture.”

The change in policy is expected to only have a minor effect on the overall data produced by the surveys, but has been hailed as a sign of greater acceptance.

A poll this week found that the number of people opposed to same-sex marriage has dropped to a record low.

The long-running poll recorded 56% of people in favour of same-sex marriage across the US, while just 37% now oppose it – down from 46% two years ago.

 

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