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Columbia Missourian

TODAY'S QUESTION: Should the next census include a space to mark sexual orientation?

By Alex Ruppenthal
March 31, 2010 | 9:16 a.m. CDT

For the first time, the 2010 census will count same-sex married couples, but there is still no place for individuals to mark their sexual orientation.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force wants that to change. The organization created a campaign called “Queer the Census” to lobby for the next census to include a space to mark sexual orientation, as the Missourian reported March 26.

The campaign has been distributing hot-pink stickers that people are supposed to seal to the back of their census envelopes. The stickers instruct people to mark one of five options: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or a straight ally. A message below the options reads: “Everyone deserves to be counted. It’s time to QueertheCensus.org.”

MU’s LGBTQ Resource Center passed out 200 stickers initially, center coordinator Ryan Black said.

Queer the Census organizer Vanessa Macoy said representation in the census is necessary for the LGBT community to receive government funding.

“The census is the basis of over $400 billion in federal funding,” she said. “The LGBT community is not able to effectively lobby to be recipients of any of that money.”

Should the next census include a space to mark sexual orientation?