The Framers’ Intent Prevails – As CAC Had Urged, Census Bureau Will Count Married Same-Sex Couples Accurately

By Judith E. Schaeffer, Vice President, Constitutional Accountability Center

In a post here that we published in March, we criticized the plans of the Census Bureau to undertake the 2010 census in a manner that would unquestionably produce inaccurate data. Specifically, the Bureau intended to continue its policy of altering the data received from married same-sex couples in order to show them as unmarried. As we reported, even researchers within the Census Bureau itself admitted that this would distort the data.

The Bureau’s asserted excuse for this policy of falsifying data was that it was required by the so-called federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But as we wrote back in March, a very good argument could be made that nothing in DOMA prohibits the Bureau from accurately reporting the responses received on the census form. And, as we also wrote, whether or not reading DOMA to require the alteration of data by the Census Bureau would violate the “actual Enumeration” clause of Article I, Section 2, the constitutional text plainly expresses the Framers’ intent that whatever the census counts, it should do so accurately and apolitically.

We concluded our post by calling on the Obama Administration to step in, and we’re very happy to report that on Friday it did, announcing that married same-sex couples will be reported as such by the Census Bureau when it conducts the 2010 census. The White House agreed that DOMA does not prohibit the Bureau from accurately gathering such data. According to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, “The president and the administration are committed to a fair and accurate count of all Americans.”

Which is, of course, nothing more than what the Framers intended.

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