News (USA)

Facebook updates relationships to include ‘civil union,’ ‘domestic partnership’

Facebook is becoming more LGBT-friendly.

This week, the world’s largest online social networking website added two new options to its list of relationship statuses: “in a civil union” and “in a domestic partnership.”

Facebook has long permitted members to indicate on their profiles whether they’re single, married, or “it’s complicated,” and the additional statuses are being applauded by LGBT advocacy groups.

“This has been a highly requested feature from users,” a Facebook representative told CNET. “We want to provide options for people to genuinely and authentically reflect their relationships on Facebook.”

Facebook made this change on the recommendation of Facebook’s Network of Support, a coalition with LGBT advocacy groups to encourage tolerance and combat harassment.

“By acknowledging the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples in the U.S. and abroad, Facebook has set a new standard of inclusion for social media,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.

“As public support for marriage equality continues to grow, we will continue to work for the day when all couples have the opportunity to marry and have their relationship recognized by their community, both online and off,” Barrios said.

The new statuses, however, are not universally welcome.

Advocates of marriage equality disdain the “separate but unequal” titles, and many gay and lesbian couples prefer to define themselves as married, whether legally recognized by their state or not.

Last year, following a rash of high-profile gay teen suicides, Facebook teamed with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to help stop to anti-gay cyber bullying on the social network. A few days later, the site’s Network of Support was officially formed.

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