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This week, GLAAD worked to share the stories of loving and committed same-sex couples on Valentine’s Day. One story in particular caught our eye: that of Brian Andersen and Anton Tanumihardja. On February 14, Anton was scheduled to be deported back to his native country of Indonesia, another victim of immigration inequality.
GLAAD reached out to local and national media, urging them to shine a spotlight on this unthinkable and discriminatory event – made possible by the federal so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.” At the same time, we provided media training to Brian and Anton so they would be prepared to speak to Americans about their love and commitment, as well as the emotional and possible physical harm that would be caused by tearing apart the couple and deporting Anton to Indonesia, where there is mounting persecution of gay men. Just three hours before Anton was to board a plane bound for Indonesia, the couple’s attorney received a faxed letter from the Dept. of Homeland Security, stating that a stay of deportation had been issued in Anton’s case.
On Thursday, Facebook announced that it had added “in a domestic partnership” and “in a civil union” options to user profiles after working with GLAAD and other organizations. GLAAD met with Facebook to advocate for this and has worked with Facebook since last year on issues ranging from cyberbullying to making the website more LGBT inclusive.
“Today, Facebook sent a clear message in support of gay and lesbian couples to users across the globe,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “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.”
“When millions of Facebook users see these relationship status options, they gain a greater understanding of the legal inequalities faced by loving and committed same-sex couples in so many states today Being able to see same-sex couples in civil unions and domestic partnerships who celebrate their relationships no differently than married couples will serve as another reminder that these couples still lack the same legal recognition and protections associated with marriage. Facebook’s noteworthy move also highlights the vast majority of same-sex couples living in states where there are no legal protections whatsoever,” Barrios continued.
GLAAD in the News
The Associated Press – Facebook Adds Civil Unions Option to Profiles
The Los Angeles Times - Facebook Allows Users to Choose Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships for Relationship Status
NY Daily News - Gay Marriage Advocates Laud Facebook 'In a Civil Union,' 'In a Domestic Partnership' Status Options
The San Francisco Chronicle – Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships Now Recognized by Facebook
Seattle Post Intelligencer – Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships Now Recognized by Facebook
CNN - Facebook Adds Civil Union, Domestic Partnership to Relationship Statuses
MSNBC - Facebook Adds 'Civil Union' and 'Domestic Partnership' Status
The Huffington Post - Facebook Adds 'Civil Union,' 'Domestic Partnership' To Relationship Status Options
The Atlantic - Facebook Adds Same-Sex Relationship Statuses
CNET - Civil unions now relationship options on Facebook
PC Mag - Facebook Adds Civil Union Options to Profiles
Mashable - Facebook Adds LGBT-Friendly Relationship Status Options
AllFacebook.com - Facebook Expands Relationship Status Options
Queerty - Facebook Adds 'In A Civil Union' And 'In A Domestic Partnership' Option To Relationship Statuses
Towleroad - Facebook Adds 'Civil Union' and 'Domestic Partnership' to User 'Relationship Status' Options
Joe My God - Facebook Adds Civil Unions & Domestic Partnerships To Relationship Status
She Wired - Facebook Adds Civil Unions, Partners to Relationship Status Options
Edge Boston - LGBT Conference Highlights Influence of Bloggers