US sees increase in same-sex couple households


The US Census Bureau says there were about 1.2 million same-sex couple households in 2021. About 710,000 were married and about 500,000 were not married.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Lisa Bunker, who’s a transgender person, recently moved to Sacramento from New Hampshire with her wife Dawn Huebner. The couple met in 2015 through the dating website, OKCupid. 

“I decided to try online dating one more time,” said Bunker. “Even though dating while transgender is, usually, pretty strange and kind of farcical. But there she was with that amazing twinkle.”

After dating for at least six months, Bunker and Hueber decided to live together in the same home. Then, on June 16, 2018, they got married.

“We started talking about getting married maybe a little under a year into our relationship,” said Huebner. “It was at a time where there was some threats to same sex marriage.”

For the first time, the number of same-sex couple households in the U.S. surpassed one million.

The US Census Bureau released a report last month. It shows there were about 1.2 million same-sex couple households in the U.S. in 2021. About 710,000 were married and about 500,000 were not married.

In comparison, there were about 980,000 same-sex couple households in 2019. Most during that census period were married. The Census Bureau says data was not collected in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new report also shows the District of Columbia had the highest percentage of same-sex couple households of any state or state equivalent with 2.5%.

Since gay couples have always been around, Bunker says she’s not surprised by the government data. She goes on to explain that as gay marriage has become more acceptable, people may feel more comfortable and safe being open.

“It’s just about love,” said Bunker. “We love each other. We are both female identifying people and we should be allowed to marry, just like any two other people. Love is love.”

The data is based on the American Community Survey. Every year, the Census Bureau contacts more than three million households across the country to participate in the survey. 

According to the Census Bureau, the ACS “helps local officials, community leaders, and businesses understand the changes taking place in their communities.” It also acts as “the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation.”

Elliot Jones, who also lives in Sacramento, was excited to learn about the increase in same-sex couple households, nationwide. He says the country is headed in the right direction.

“I never thought about how many same-gender households or marriages had happen,” said Jones. “You feel like you’re in the company of many great people who overcame some obstacles, including some people’s prejudices.”

Jones says he met his husband, Mark Benko, on National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2003, in Philadelphia. Three years later, the couple moved into the same home, together. 

“We moved in together at my house in Delaware,” said Jones. “Shortly after that, we bought a house in Arizona. I’ve been married to my husband for nine years, but we’ve been together for 19 years.”

For now, Benko is still living and working in Arizona. Jones recently moved to Sacramento to be the music director at Pioneer Congregational United Church of Christ. It’s the first church founded in Sacramento in 1849.

“LGBTQIA+ people are being threatened,” said Jones. “The fear is that churches, like ours, who embrace LGBTQIA+ people could possibly be targets of violence. Even though I may be afraid, it’s not going to make me change who I am.”

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