On February 18, Facebook added two new relationship status options—“Civil union” and “in a domestic partnership,” to allow gay and lesbian Facebook users to correctly define their romantic relationships on the site.
The two new options will be available in the US, Canada, France, UK and Australia. The new statuses were added to the previous list of options including single, in a relationship, in an open relationship, engaged, married, divorced, widowed and separated.
Facebook decided to make these changes after consulting with various human-rights groups. Many of these groups consider the social networking site’s changes to be a huge step forward for the coveted equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.
Same-sex marriage licenses are only available in a few states in the US. These states include New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington D.C. The marriages allowed in these states are referred to as civil unions or domestic partnerships, depending on the state.
“Today, Facebook sent a clear message in support of gay and lesbian couples to users across the globe,” said Jerret Barrios, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation in a televised interview, “By acknowledging the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples in the US and abroad, Facebook has set a new standard of inclusion for social media.”
While no students at Leesville are at the point of pursuing domestic partnership just yet, many acknowledge that Facebook’s changes are for the better.
“For such a large social networking site to acknowledge gay rights means that everyone on Facebook has to be confronted by the fact, regardless of if they approve or not,” said Kate Eckard, senior and member of the county-wide Gay Straight Alliance, “I think that this is a gigantic step for gay rights in America, seeing as the majority of us have Facebooks.”