Same-Sex Partners in the 2001 Census

Recording of same-sex partnerships in 1991 and 2001 Censuses

Graham Jones,
Director of Census Division,
Office of National Statistics,
Sedgenworth Road,
PO15 5RR

Dear Mr. Jones,

In the 1991 census, there were questions designed to establish the relationship between members of the household. The design of the form inadvertently allowed same-sex couples to identify their partnership. A significant number of lesbian and gay couples took advantage of this opportunity and indicated in the relevant section on the form that they were living together as partners.

This record of same-sex relationships, which was not intended by the Census Division, was regarded as “anomalous” and the information provided by these couples was “corrected” to erase any record of homosexual partners. The end result was that same-sex lovers who wished to record their partnership were falsely recorded as “unrelated” in the 1991 Census.

I am writing to request your official acknowledgement that these “corrections” to the data took place, and that it was the official policy of the Census Division at that time to expunge any record of same-sex partnerships.

I further wish to seek your reassurance that the 2001 Census form will be designed so that those homosexual couples who wish to record their partnership will be able to do so, and that same-sex partnerships will be included in the final Census statistics.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell.

cc: Dr. Tim Holt, Head of the Government Statistical Office
Helen Lidell MP