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Census Bureau to count same-sex spouses as married couples

The view society has of same-sex marriage has changed quite a bit in recent times. Generally, there has been an increased amount of support for recognition of these marriages.

Such a change in societal views may be one of the things behind a decision the U.S. Census Bureau recently made to change how, in its data, it will count same-sex couples who report themselves as being married.

Up to this point, the bureau has not counted such couples as married couples. Since 2000, the agency's policy has been to count such couples as unmarried cohabiting partners.

Recently, however, the agency announced that it will change its policy so that same-sex couples that report themselves as married will be counted as married couples. According to the agency, its September 2014 data release will be using this new counting policy.

Of course, the general societal view of same-sex couples is not the only thing that has been changing in recent years, so too have laws in the U.S. regarding same-sex couples. It wasn't that long ago that no state recognized same-sex marriages as valid. Now, 19 states have legalized such marriages. Also, in almost all of the states with same-sex marriage bans, the bans are being challenged. In some of these states, such as Texas, federal courts have issued decisions which bring into serious question how much longer the states' bans will remain in place.

Such changes are also being seen in many other areas of same-sex-couple-related family law. Thus, family law generally is currently very much in flux when it comes to same-sex couples. Consequently, when a family law matter comes up for a same-sex couple, it can be very helpful for the couple to speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable of where state law is currently at when it comes to same-sex couples and can give the couple guidance as to how this affects what options they have in relation to their family law matter.

Source: Pew Research Center, "Census says it will count same-sex marriages, but with caveats," D'Vera Cohn, May 29, 2014

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