For the first time ever, the Census Bureau has released estimates from the annual American Community Survey (ACS) of same-sex couples who identifed as married spouses in 2008. (Although the Census Bureau has been keeping track of same-sex marriages since 2000, the Bush administration refused to release the data, citing the federal ban on marriage equality.) Nearly 150,000 people said they had a same-sex spouse, and approximately 415,00 identified as “unmarried partners“:
The reason the number of same-sex spouses dropped this year was due to “improvements to ACS survey design and tabulation procedures” — not a drop in same-sex demographics. In the past, a “large fraction” of the people different-sex spouses had actually just “made a mistake and checked an incorrect sex box,” which inflated the number of same-sex couples. Williams Institute Fellow Gary Gates told ThinkProgress that repealing the Defense of Marriage Act would “facilitating federal recognition for same-sex married couples,” which would “increase the need for federal agencies to collect accurate data on them.