New York, Feb 18 (ANI): Social networking site Facebook has been praised by same-sex marriage advocates for providing relationship status options like "in a civil union" or "in a domestic partnership" for gays.
Facebook introduced the new features in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Australia after consultation with users and equal-rights organizations.
The site has more than 600 million active users globally and human-rights groups hailed the move as a huge step forward for the greater equality and understanding of same sex unions.
"I think it's important to be able to recognize and describe the legal status of same sex couples," the New York Daily News quoted Marriage Equality media director Mollie McKay as saying.
"It's good visibility and good to show everyone on Facebook that same-sex couples exist, and are denied the status of marriage," she said.
Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said the move sends a clear message to users across the globe that Facebook supports gay and lesbian couples.
"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," he stated.
Same-sex unions are allowed in some states, but not recognized by the federal government.
They are defined as "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" depending on the state where the union is granted, and the precise meaning of the two terms varies from state to state.
"This is a really positive step. I think it brings the online experience on a par with the way that people would talk about, or describe, their relationship offline," Human Rights Campaign's media officer Michael Cole-Schwartz said.
"I think that Facebook really led the way on this discussion and deserves a lot of credit," he added. (ANI)