The first figures on same-sex couples from census data released from 2008 indicates that 150,000 gay and lesbian couples are reporting themselves as married.
With data indicating roughly 100,000 same-sex weddings, civil unions and domestic partnerships in 2008 only, the disparity may come from the fact that committed same-sex couples would get married if they could.
27% of the estimated 564,743 total U.S. gay couples stated they were in a relationship akin to"husband" and "wife," compared to 91% of 61.3 million straight couples, reports the AP. In 2008, 56% of the reported 149,956 same-sex marriages were lesbian, with couples being reported in every part of the country.
"The numbers are also an indicator of the count to come in the 2010 census, a tally that could stir a state-by-state fight over same-sex marriage, gay adoption and other legal rights," the AP reports.
With the Obama administration ordering that the Census Bureau report and release information on same-sex couples for the 2010 census, the results will be historical. After revising what beforehand was kept confidential and arguably inaccurate, the results will be the first clear report on how many LGBT couples exist in the country.
The preliminary report "found almost 200,000 fewer same-sex couples than the previous year, which Census officials say resulted from data-processing changes. The total number of same-sex couples in 2008 was about 565,000, vs. 754,000 in 2007," reports USA Today.
"We don't think Census is doing us dirty here," says Jaime Grant of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C., which has been pushing for Census recognition of gay couples. "They improved the way they designed the form, so they got fewer false reports from opposite-sex partners. But I still think it doesn't mean we're getting the full picture of LGBT people across the board."
Gates added that she hopes these new numbers will "give us a little bit of a wake-up call for how important it is for people in the community to make themselves visible on federal surveys like the Census and other surveys."