Facebook adds civil unions, domestic partnerships to options

4:00 p.m. update:

Starting Friday, Facebook members can check "in a civil union" or "in a domestic partnership" under relationship status on their profiles.

The move is being applauded by gay rights groups across the country.

Bob Metzler lives in Syracuse with his husband. He says his Facebook status says "married." He says he would like to see every same-sex couple have the opportunity to be married, but he says, in the meantime, he's glad Facebook is taking this step.

Barbara Genton chairs the board for Sage Upstate, an organization that promotes the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as they age.

"This is a wonderful thing that Facebook's doing," Genton says.

A Facebook spokesperson says the company has received numerous requests for this feature.

"We want to provide options for people to genuinely and authentically reflect their relationships on Facebook," she says.

Original story from the Associated Press:

Facebook on Thursday added civil unions and domestic partnerships to the list of relationships that its users can pick from to best describe their romantic status.

The world's largest online social network also gives its users the option to list themselves as single, married, in an open relationship or "it's complicated," among others.

The option for civil unions or domestic partnerships is only available to Facebook users in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France and Australia, said the nonprofit Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which has been among the groups working with Facebook to add the options.

Facebook said it is rolling out the feature in countries where users asked for it.

"We will monitor user reaction and requests, and assess how to move forward with the rollout based on how this is going, and respond," said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes in an e-mail statement.

Facebook has well over 500 million users. About 70 percent of them live outside of the U.S.