Facebook has added two new relationship status options: "in a civil union" and "in a domestic partnership." This brings the total number of relationship statuses on the social network to 11, which also include single, in a relationship, engaged, married, it's complicated, in an open relationship, widowed, separated, and divorced. The new fields are being rolled out in the US, the UK, Canada, France, and Australia.
"This has been a highly requested feature from users," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We want to provide options for people to genuinely and authentically reflect their relationships on Facebook."
The changes were made in consultation with Facebook's Network of Support, a group formed in October 2010 in an educational effort to fight against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) cyberbullying. The Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) were two of the organizations that met with Facebook to advocate for this change.
"Today, Facebook sent a clear message in support of gay and lesbian couples to users across the globe," Jarrett Barrios, GLAAD President, said in a statement. "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. 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."
"As LGBT people face a patchwork of relationship recognition laws, this gives people more tools to adequately describe their relationship," Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "Facebook has been a company that has tried to be inclusive of the LGBT community and this just one sign of it."
Earlier this week, Facebook partnered with MTV and Justin Bieber to promote an anti-cyberbullying campaign. It's great to see the company taking more initiative in fighting social issues as it continues to grow its huge user base.