NEW YORK — With strong backing from the Census Bureau, gay-rights activists are urging maximum participation by their community in the first U.S. census that will tally same-sex couples who say they're married – even those without a marriage license.The Census Bureau has decided to let respondents decide if they want to identify their relationship as a marriage. They've produced the following public service announcement starring Star Trek alum George Takei and his husband Brad Altman to help get the word out.
The move has drawn fire from conservatives, who complain that it's another step toward redefining marriage.
For the first time, the bureau has deployed a team of professional field workers – about two-dozen strong – to reach out to gays and lesbians. On Monday, the bureau unveiled its first public-service videos encouraging gay Americans to mail in their census forms.
"What I tell folks in the bureau is that this is a powerful, important part of American society," said Tim Olson, a Census Bureau assistant division chief helping to oversee the campaign.
"We have to reach out and engage this part of the population. Anything less than that is a failure," he said.
If you're single, go to Queer The Census to sign a petition calling for the federal government to count LGBT citizens and order a free sticker to seal your census envelope with to make your point when you mail it in. It only takes a few days to arrive.