Wyden, Merkley Introduce Legislation to Ensure LGBTQ Americans are Counted in Census

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week introduced legislation that would require the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure the approximately 10 million Americans who identify as LGBTQ are properly counted in Census data collection.

Despite the progress our country has made, LGBTQ Americans are still facing discrimination in many aspects of their lives, including employment, housing and the justice system,” Wyden said. “While the Trump administration continues to undermine the rights of LGBTQ Americans, the Census Equality Act will ensure that LGBTQ communities are better represented, and that lawmakers are better equipped to tackle discrimination head on.”

The census is a critical tool for ensuring that every American community is visible, and that the unique needs of different communities are met,” said Merkley. “The LGBTQ community is part of the fabric of America, and it’s past time to ensure that LGBTQ Americans are fully represented in our nation’s census.”

The Census Equality Act would expand data collection for LGBTQ Americans, who are currently undercounted in the United States Census. Undercounting this data results in an inadequate distribution of resources and social services including Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Wyden and Merkley are also cosponsors of the LGBT Data Inclusion Act, which would require any federal survey, including the U.S. Census, to include data collection of LGBTQ Americans.

Additional cosponsors of the Census Equality Act include Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Tom Carper, D-Del., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.

Text of the bill can be found here. A one page summary can be found here.

A web version of this release can be found here.