The trend of sky-rocketing reports of same-sex couples cohabiting holds true for more conservative areas, such as Montana (80 percent), Oklahoma (70 percent) and Arizona (70 percent), Gates said. While more traditionally liberal areas, such as California (36 percent), reported some growth, but not nearly at the same rate as Utah and other conservative areas, he said.
While Gates said he agrees with the overall trend of increased reporting of gay couples, there is a large margin of error in the data. There are some inherit problems with the wording of the Census and some opposite-sex couples most likely inadvertently skewed the numbers to increase them.
“There are about 60 million opposite-sex couples in the U.S. and about 600,000 same-sex couples,” Gates said. “If even only one of every thousand opposite-sex couples accidentally mislabeled their relationship as a same-sex partnership, that could mean about a 10 percent error. And we actually believe this number to be much higher. We believe as many as 25 percent of same-sex couples are mislabeled.”
However, the number of gay couples that chose not to fill out the form indicating their relationship out of fear of some sort of retaliation or discrimination may offset that mislabeling, he said.
“While there is ample evidence that the trend indicates an increasing willingness to mark the Census indicating a same-sex relationship, I maintain a certain level of skepticism for the report,” Gates said.