Before leaving Washington for a weekend at home in the 5th District, Congressman Mike Quigley sent a personal letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to recognize same-sex married couples in the 2010 Census. The entire text of the letter is as follows:
On May 14, 2009, I joined many of my colleagues in sending you a letter to voice our shared belief that same-sex married couples, in states that recognize the marriage, should be counted in the 2010 Census. This recognition of same-sex married couples will ensure the collection of proper and accurate data, so that the integrity of the Census is not jeopardized, which I fear will happen if this information is omitted.
As stated in our letter, my colleagues and I do not believe that simply reporting data about same-sex married couples in the 2010 Census is a recognition of same-sex marriage. However, the omission, or "scrubbing" of the data from these couples will misidentify and misrepresent many people who are legally married in a growing number of states across our country. Since the Census is a portrait of America, information about legally married, same-sex couples should not be "scrubbed" from the record.
Our letter, of May 2009, stated "It is our understanding that the Census Bureau officials are operating under an inaccurate Bush Administration interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that federal statistical agencies are prohibited from tabulating and reporting data on same-sex marriages. We firmly believe that publicly reporting data collected on the status of same-sex couples in the United States is not tantamount to federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Instead, public reporting simply provides basic information about how Americans respond to the Census Bureau's questions."
When I was elected, I promised to come to Congress to continue my work to ensure the civil rights and equal treatment of all Americans. I would not be upholding my promise if I let this opportunity pass by, for proper and equitable treatment of all Americans in the 2010 Census.
An unswerving champion of issues important to the LGBT community, Congressman Quigley's letter is one part of a larger effort. Immediately after being sworn in this past April, Quigley's first act in Congress was to co-sponsor the Hate Crimes bill, which would authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Earlier this month, Quigley called for the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which mandates the military discharge of openly gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual service members.
Congressman Quigley is a member of the LGBT Congressional Equality Caucus and has co-sponsored over twelve LGBT-significant bills during his first two months in office. Back at home, he is forming a district LGBT Advisory Council of community leaders to function as a resource on important issues as well.
As Cook County Commissioner (1998-2009), Quigley worked tirelessly to ensure that Cook County did not do business with groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation. Additionally, Quigley passed two groundbreaking ordinances that extended health benefits to gay and lesbian partners of County employees and created the Cook Country Domestic Partnership Registry, which allows domestic partners to more easily secure benefits for one another.