Facebook Expands Relationship Status Options

By Jackie Cohen Comment

Facebook added domestic partnerships and civil unions to the list of options in the relationship status drop-down menu for users in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and France.

The additions result from collaboration with, among other organizations, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which put out a press release celebrating the change. The organization’s President, Jarrett Barrios, said in a prepared statement:

Today, Facebook sent a clear message in support of gay and lesbian couples to users across the globe. 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.

I’m as happy as GLAAD is, but also cognizant of the adage about how you can’t please everyone all of the time — some people might gripe that the relationship statuses don’t let people in open relationships can only identify one of the people they’re dating. And if you check “it’s complicated,” there’s no prompt to explain the complication. While we’re at it, I’ve heard complaints that the portion of the profile that lets you list family members doesn’t include step-children and step-siblings.

But circling back to today’s additions, I’m wondering why they’re only available in some parts of the world but not all, but suspect that the terms domestic partnership and civil union only have legal meanings in certain countries.

What do you think about the two additional options in Facebook’s relationship statuses?