Facebook Adds ‘Civil Union’ and ‘Domestic Partnership’ to User ‘Relationship Status’ Options


Facebook has added "civil union" and "domestic partnership" to its "relationship status" options in user profiles, following an anti-bullying initiative called 'Network of Support' in consultation with LGBT groups that began last October.

Facebook Said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios in response to the changes: "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."


  1. Dave C. says

    oh, joy. facebook now allows us to broadcast to the world that our relationships are in a different category than everyone else’s.

  2. pete N sfo says

    I guess it’s good that FB allows ppl to reflect the true legal status of their relationship, but I’m w/ Dave (above); it just magnifies that people want to continue to propel the false notion that “gay marriage” is somehow different than “marriage”

  3. says

    Dave, while I think that is one way to look at it, the (sad) truth is that civil unions and domestic partnerships are often the only things available to gay couples from a legal standpoint. I don’t think it’s meant to be offensive.

    If anything, I think it gives gay relationships more weight on Facebook, if that means anything. One could be ‘in a relationship’ after going on a few dates, but for a couple to say they are “domestic partners” signifies more. And it would be inaccurate for a gay couple to say that they are married anyway because it’s not exactly legal in most places. I would not feel comfortable saying that I am married to my partner until gay marriage is legal, but should we ever decide to get civil unioned or whatever, I would feel perfectly fine saying that.

  4. pete N sfo says

    you guys… Dave’s comment is not a dig at FB, but rather at the ridiculousness of this whole spectrum of labeling as we chip away at the discrimination in favor of equality.

    Nobody’s bitter… just discontent with the bullsh*t

  5. gregv says

    @Austin: I disagree that it’s inaccurate for sa couple to say “married” if they don’t have the documents. As far as I’m concerned, if a couple, whether same- or mixed-sex, vows to spend the rest of their lives together and considers themselves married, then they’re married. Whether the state recognizes their marriage with equal rights is a different question.

    This isn’t a perfect analogy, but it’s a little like when women and blacks got the right to be “persons.” They were already people, but they weren’t legally entitled to the rights of “people” . When equality-minded people referred to men and women, black or white, when using the word “people,” it could only help the ignorant masses to get used to the idea.

    I think there are a lot of people who vote “no” on equal rights because they’re just “not sure what a marriage between same-sex spouses would look like.” The first time they hear a man at work say “This is my husband, Ed,” it sounds like an oxymoron to them, and that’s all they can focus on.

    The second time they hear Ellen on TV say, “Here are pictures of when Portia and I got married,” they’ve at least got a precedent for the vocabulary from the guy from work.

    The third time they come across a same-sex couple, they may be using “equal” vocabulary themselves, and the idea of voting “yes” on equality doesn’t seem like it’s something from outer space anymore.

    I’ve always thought that this issue should be framed in terms of married couples who do not have the same rights that other married couples have.

  6. says

    @Greg, you make a great argument for your case. I definitely see where you’re coming from, and you kind of touched on something I have long believed in: the power of coming out. Simplistically put, the first out gay person someone meets is strange and possibly frightening. The second one, at the very least, won’t be as much of a shock. The third might be a friend of family member. By the tenth, it won’t seem nearly as foreign or scary. Hopefully.

    Thanks for the insight. It definitely made me see it in a different angle. =)

  7. MoJo says

    Such bullshit! Where’s the option for 2nd-class citizen?!
    I consider Any couple that’re in a committed LTR, married. Regardless of the frucked up laws “governing” their freedoms!

  8. says

    The only problem with this is that all gay people do not have the option of being legally married.

    However, that is not Facebook’s doing. I salute them for adding categories that reflect reality for some gay people. Any gay couple who either is married or thinks of themselves as married is free to be married on Facebook. And straight couples may also use the DP or CU options since that may reflect their reality better than married.

    Those same straight couples all have legal privileges we don’t have, the more substantial discrimination issue behind the status options.

  9. Shelly says

    And those of us who live in benighted regions who can’t even be legally civil unioned or domestic partnershipped?

    I’m with those who say “married” status shouldn’t be contingent on legal recognition, so I’m changing it today.

  10. dm says

    Tried to change “in a relationship” to “in a domestic partnership” just now, but it’s not an option. Come October my partner and I will have been together for twenty-five years. We still can’t, of course, claim homestead exemption, much less file taxes together….

  11. Real Talk says

    @ Austin: “inaccurate” to say married….I remember that’s the words of the grand father of my partner of 14 years. My partner and I have been inseperable, in love, and commited these 14 years. We’ve seen many of our hetrosexual friends seperate, divorce in UGLY divorce battles, not to mention cheat throughout the years. our bond has grown closer, tighter and more in love and for that it is absolutely valid for us to say MARRIED. We are more married than the hetrosexuals you are so quick to deem legally married. Under the law we may not be married, and we’re certainly doing our part to change that. There’s a difference between going around saying “gay marriage is illegal! stop calling yourselves married” and saying “It may be illegal in some places, but we’re doing our part to make it LEGAL in all places showing that we showcasing our love as marriage only enables hetrosexuals to see how our relationships are worthy.”

    Don’t ever settle for reffering to yourself or your relationship as “illegal”….no matter what the law books tell you.

  12. Ken says

    Agree with most of the other comments here. I think it’s very important the gay couples refer to themselves as married whether or not it is legal where they live. And also the man I’m married to is my husband not my “partner”, another term that annoys me. We can’t let the bigots steal certain words from us and define our relationships as different and therefore inferior.

  13. Tim says

    Everyone should be happy with this. If you consider yourself married, mark married. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s officially recognised or not. If you prefer to stick to the word on your certificate, then you have that option, too. I don’t see how or why any of this debatable. It’s good no matter how you look at it! If you think it highlights the separatism you feel, then it’s good, too. Odds are, if you think its wrong then others probably do, too. Highlighting the issue can be one way of bringing about change.

  14. says

    It’s nice of Facebook to make this option available. Of course, straights who are not married but in a partnership arrangement can list themselves thusly as well.

    But my husband and I didn’t go to the time and expense of going to Vermont to get married so we could list ourselves as being in a Civil Union or Domestic Partnership – especially when our state doesn’t recognize either. We got married and will continue to list ourselves as such on Facebook and in the “real” world.

    And if marriage isn’t legal in our state by 2015, we’re moving to Vermont.

  15. tom a says

    marriage IS available in EVERY state. Just get married at a church that marries same sex couples, and then you’re married.

    Of course the state government may not recognize it, but there isn’t a Facebook option for “married, but it’s not legally recognized by my state government.”

  16. Robert J Haas says

    Great Stuff. Current, topical, useful, and puts us out there in a positive informative,
    paletteable,non-threatening and humorous way. This kind of website will help swing the younger demographics to seeing us as people not an act to be fear and scorned.

  17. Eric Shaw says

    I thought wtf at first & why would anyone want to have the watered down version of marriage but then I took a step back and realized, it’s an one (two in this case) more option then we had before and if no one likes that option then choose “marriage” instead…problem solved :)