US Census Bureau officials have said that they will be including married gay couples in their 2010 census.

Despite it being too late to change the language of the census, which only has boxes for “husband,” “wife” and “unmarried partner”, the census’ tabulation software will be changed to allow recognition of the husband block to be ticked twice in one household.

“In the normal process of reports coming out after the census of 2010, I think the country will have a good data set on which to discuss this phenomenon that is evolving in this country,” Steve Jost, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said.

In 2000, when the last US census was carried out, no US state had allowed gay marriage. Since then Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine have legalised gay marriage.

While it was believed that the federal Defence of Marriage act barred the information from being collected, the White House has announced that its interpretation of the act did not prohibit gathering the information.

“The president and the administration are committed to a fair and accurate count of all Americans. We’re in the midst of determining the best way to ensure that gay and lesbian couples are accurately counted,” said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

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