Proposition 8 is still in the courts, but Facebook took a major stand toward advancing the cause of gay rights by offering the option of adding “domestic partnership” and “civil union” to people’s relationship status. While nothing previously prevented gay couples from listing themselves as married on Facebook, the new options more closely reflect the realities that gay couples face in the real world, where gay marriages aren’t always recognized.
There is, however, a glitch. The option only appears in the U.S., where gay marriage is available in several states, Canada, where it is legal, and the United Kingdom, France, and Australia, where same-sex partnerships are recognized, but marriage is not. That still leaves many countries with this option unavailable, including Scandinavia, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and South Africa, where same-sex marriage is fully recognized, but more particularly, countries like Germany and France among them, which have strong civil partnership laws, but no gay marriage.
It’s probably just a matter of time before those countries are included as well, though this still leaves the question open as to how Facebook will treat countries like Iran and parts of the Arab world, where homosexuality is criminalized. Facebook already plays a major role in those countries’ political processes, as witnessed by the popular revolts underway. Will it risk playing a role in their social revolutions too?
Read More at NBC Bay Area.