Conservatives Blast Census Bureau for Counting Gay Couples

( [email protected] ) Apr 07, 2010 07:41 AM EDT

The U.S. Census Bureau has boosted its efforts of reaching out to the LGBT community, assuring gays and transgender people that they can be "true" to who they are when filling out census forms.

Same-sex couples will, for the first time, be counted as married even if their relationships are not recognized in their state.

Moreover, transgender people have been encouraged to complete the forms according to their "true gender," as Mara Keisling of the Center for Transgender Equality stated. They, however, will not directly be counted as transgender.

"Be yourself and be counted," Keisling, a transgender-identified woman, said in a promotional video.

On Monday, the Census Bureau released new videos encouraging same-sex couples and transgender people to participate in the 2010 census.

Gay rights groups have hailed the bureau's move as historic, as it signals recognition of gay and lesbian marriages.

"We pushed hard to make it possible for married same-sex couples to be counted in the 2010 census," reads a statement by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The organization launched a "Queer the Census" campaign demanding even more recognition in the next U.S. census, complete with a question that asks if one is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Conservative groups, meanwhile, say the bureau is ignoring federal and state laws by allowing same-sex couples to list themselves as married regardless of whether their relationships are legal.

"The law should count for something when the Census Bureau counts America's population, but apparently it doesn't on President Obama's watch," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. "The President's Commerce Department is actively encouraging people to ignore U.S. marriage law and invent new definitions for their relationships."

Perkins noted that the federal Defense of Marriage Act forbids the government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

"When it comes to advancing the extreme homosexual agenda, this White House has no limits, not even the facts," he lamented.

Gary Randall, president of Faith and Freedom Network, believes homosexual numbers will be inflated by the "you decide what you are" policy.

"This policy shift is another attempt to confuse the discussion about marriage by creating a problem of sorts, then providing a solution that advances the homosexual agenda of redefining marriage," he stated.

The Census Bureau has begun mailing second forms to approximately 40 million housing units to increase America's participation. Households have until mid-April to mail back their forms. Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide.