The U.S. government will not count married gay couples in the 2010 census, the San Jose Mercury News reported July 12 Instead, same-sex couples who accurately report that they are married will have their response tabulated by the Census Bureau as if they had checked âunmarried partners.â
Same-sex marriage is legal in California and Massachusetts. In addition, New Yorkers who marry in those states or abroad are recognized as married in New York state.
The Mercury News said the Census Bureauâs decision was based on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) âand other mandates.â
DOMA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, states, in part: âIn determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word âmarriageâ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word âspouseâ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.â
Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California Los Angeles law school, told the newspaper that the bureauâs decision âgoes against everything the census stands for.â
âItâs a systematic hiding not only of married gay couples, but gay couples as families, which I would argue is a fundamentally political decision,â Gates said.
Attempt To Block California Vote On Marriage Fails
The California Supreme Court denied a petition July 16 to remove from the November ballot the voter initiative to amend the state constitution to re-ban same-sex marriage. Lawyers for Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union had argued that the proposed amendment, if passed, would actually amount to a ârevisionâ of the constitution.
While the California Constitution can be amended via a ballot initiative, it cannot be ârevised.â A revision of the document requires a proposal by the Legislature or by a constitutional convention, followed by popular ratification.
The groups also argued that the initiative should be stricken from the ballot because people who signed petitions to put it there were not given accurate information on the proposed amendmentâs impact.
Those petitions claimed the amendment would not change California law on marriage â which was true when the petitions were being circulated but is false now that same-sex marriage is legal.
The petitions also claimed the amendment would have no fiscal impact, but it will, because marrying gay couples from across the country brings money into California â both for counties and for businesses that cater to visitors..
While the court rejected removing the initiative from the ballot, it is possible the court would give renewed consideration to the groupsâ arguments should voters actually approve the amendment.
Polling suggests Californians do not support writing marriage discrimination into the state constitution, though thatâs no guarantee they wonât do so in the privacy of the voting booth.
ABC, FX Get High Marks From GLAAD
ABC and the FX cable network do the best job of representing gay Americans, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said July 14. GLAADâs Network Responsibility Index tracks the quantity, quality and diversity of images of GLBT people on television.
ABC, with shows like Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty, received the highest marks of the five broadcast networks. NBC and Fox scored lowest.
Among 10 of the highest-rated cable channels, FX aired the largest number of GLBT-inclusive hours of original programming, while TNT offered the fewest.
GLAAD examined all primetime programming - 4,911 hours - on the five major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW) from June 1, 2007, to May 31, 2008. The group also reviewed all original primetime programming - 1,240 hours - on the 10 cable networks.
âTime and again we see that what people watch on TV shapes how they view and treat the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around them,â said GLAAD President Neil Giuliano. âABC and FX are ... showing other networks that including images of our community can go hand in hand with critical and commercial success.â
Each of the 6,151 hours of TV was reviewed for any on-screen GLBT representations, and networks were assigned a grade of excellent, good, adequate or failing.
ABC and The CW rated good, with 24 percent and 21 percent of their primetime programming hours inclusive of GLBT representations. CBS rated adequate, with nine percent. NBC and Fox received failing grades for their six percent and four percent of programming hours with GLBT images.
Of the 10 cable networks evaluated, FX, HBO and Showtime each received a grade of good, with FX leading with 45 percent of programming hours featuring GLBT representations. Lifetime and MTV ranked adequate. A&E, Spike, TBS, TNT and USA received failing grades.
The full report is at glaad.org/media/nri/NRI_2008.pdf.
-Assistance: Bill Kelley