New Facebook Statuses: One Giant Step for Gay Marriage

If you're a gay American, you already know your government isn't yet 100 percent cool with you marrying someone who isn't the opposite sex. But guess what -- Mark Zuckerberg seems to be warming up to the idea! As of yesterday, Facebook users can now declare the new relationship statuses of "in a civil union" or "in a domestic partnership."

The social-networking site consulted users and equal-rights groups to decide on the new feature and rolled it out in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, and Australia yesterday.

Sure, it's "just Facebook," but I have a feeling the weight of this move could lead to some really exciting downstream effects ...


Explaining how she sees the significance of the new feature, Marriage Equality media director Mollie McKay told the New York Daily News:

I think it's important to be able to recognize and describe the legal status of same sex couples. It's good visibility and good to show everyone on Facebook that same-sex couples exist, and are denied the status of marriage.

The visibility is major progress. These days, what we all see on Facebook, on Twitter, on reality TV quickly becomes our reality. Obviously, I'm psyched right now for gay Facebook users to have the ability to declare their relationship status as "in a civil union" or "in a domestic partnership." But it's also super-important that young, straight Facebook users start seeing their gay friends tweak their relationship statuses. Already, 66 percent of adults under age 30 support gay marriage. Because it will increase the visibility of same-sex relationships, this Facebook development will hopefully only serve to bolster that trend.

In fact, could Facebook make "civil unions" and "domestic partnerships" so household-namey that today's status-updating teens and college kids become tomorrow's gay marriage-advocating politicians? Maybe in the not-so-distant future, marriage inequality could be the status quo of days past, much like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Hey, we all know just how influential the social network has been so far ... sociologically, economically, politically. Who's to say that it couldn't lead to Congress legalizing gay marriage someday (with hope, sooner rather than later)? Actually, thanks to this move by The Zuck, I just might have more faith in Facebook as a social change-maker than ever before.

Do you think these new relationship statuses will help the marriage equality cause?

Image via Mike Licht/Flickr

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