The Census Bureau announced Friday that married gay and lesbian couples would be counted in the 2010 national tally, flipping an earlier decision, the AP reported.

Previously, officials had stated that the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the 1996 law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal agencies, barred them from including gay couples married in six mostly Northeastern states in the count.

But the White House announced Friday that it did not believe DOMA prevented the bureau from including gay couples.

“They will be counted, and they ought to report the way they see themselves,” Steve Jost, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said. “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.”

Incorporating the changes does not require any alterations to current census forms, which ask about relationships between members of a household.

“This is about folks' identity,” Jost said. “We are experienced in dealing with changing social phenomena and how to measure and report it, and we want to get it right.”

President Obama has come under intense pressure from gay rights activists who say they want the president to make good on campaign promises he made to the GLBT community, including repealing DOMA.

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

It is the second victory for married gay couples in as many weeks. Last week, the State Department announced they would allow gay and lesbian couples to use their spouse's surname when applying for a passport.

Officials at the department also previously claimed that DOMA barred the recognition of gay couples on passports. But in a letter dated June 15, the Justice Department notified a gay rights group suing the federal government for benefits denied to married gay and lesbian couples that the prohibition was no longer in effect.