Lobbying Through the Census
This is from a Columbia Missourian article about a campaign to identify respondents’ sexual orientation on Census forms:
“The census is the basis of over $400 billion in federal funding,” she said. “The LGBT community is not able to effectively lobby to be recipients of any of that money.”
If advocates believe the Census questions are discriminatory or offensive to any group, they should certainly make that case. However, greater ease in lobbying is not a good reason to add to the list of questions. Census participation is required by law, and it would be an inappropriate invasion of respondents’ privacy to compel them to share their sexual orientation or other personal characteristics that some lobbyists would like statistics on. Similarly, while it would help advocates for funding of medical research if everyone had to reveal their medical histories on the Census, the Census does not gather this information.
Advocates can use other means, like petition drives and rallies, to show lawmakers how many people support their causes.