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Respondents to the 2020 census will be able to state whether they are part of a same-sex couple for the first time in the survey’s history.

A Census Bureau spokesperson confirmed the change to NBC News, telling the news outlet that “as our population and communities change, so do their needs.”

“To better collect more detailed data about types of coupled households, the Census Bureau expanded the single response option of ‘husband or wife’ or ‘unmarried partner’ to the two response options of ‘opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse’ and ‘same-sex husband/wife/spouse,’ and ‘opposite-sex unmarried partner’ and ‘same-sex unmarried partner,’” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S. “furthered the need” to include same-sex couples in the census.

{mosads}LGBTQ advocates hailed the move as a win, but said they hoped the census will also start to count LGBTQ individuals.

Meghan Maury, a policy director at the National LGBTQ Task Force and a member of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations, told NBC News that adding the same-sex option to the relationship question is a “step in the right direction” but “nowhere near what we’d love to have one day.”

The Census Bureau had already announced that it would not be asking individuals about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The 2020 census has been under fire after the Trump administration announced that a question on citizenship would be included.

Democratic states sued the administration over the question almost immediately after it was announced, claiming that it would lead to an undercount of residents who live in certain states. 

Tags Census LGBTQ Same-sex marriage
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