Facebook has made a small change to its "Relationship Status" drop down box, and in doing so recognized "In a civil union" and "In a domestic partnership" as valid choices in the way one can report their personal relationship on the site, reports ZDNet.
When the change was made is unclear, but users in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France and Australia now have the ability to choose the two new options. Functionally the change is minor to unimportant, from a societal standpoint it moves Facebook alongside some 35 plus countries in recognizing, in some form, non-traditional relationships.
While Facebook's official blog makes no mention of the change, the company's manager of public policy communications, Andrew Noyes, regarding the change, only released the following statement to the Huffington Post:
"This has been a highly requested feature from users. We want to provide options for people to genuinely and authentically reflect their relationships on Facebook."
The change was apparently made in consultation with Facebook's Network of Support, which counts several Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender community advocacy groups among its members. Many of those groups told The Huffington Post they were pleased with Facebook's actions yesterday.
The two new options are reported to be limited to users in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France and Australia, before we rush to name Facebook a vanguard of social change. The country list actually makes little sense, it doesn't align neatly to the list of countries that actually legally recognize such unions.
And of course following that, the 15,000,000 Facebook users in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where homosexuality is largely a crime with penalties ranging from jail time to the death penalty, willn't be seeing this option.
Reversing the change, however, is fairly simple - scroll to the bottom of the News Feed, click ''Edit Options'', click ''Show Posts From'' and change the setting to ''All Of Your Friends and Pages''.
[tags]same sex,transgender,social networking,social media,america,canada,australia,france,relationship,domestic,partnership[/tags]