Facebook gets with the times

I know, I know. You wouldn’t think Facebook, of all companies, would ever be behind the times. But up until Thursday it was.

Jay Lassiter is no longer “in a relationship.”

Let’s clarify that: Lassiter, a media adviser for political campaigns who lives in Cherry Hill, N.J., is still with his partner of nearly eight years, Greg Lehmkuho. But since Thursday, when Facebook expanded its romantic-status options, Lassiter’s profile there echoes his relationship’s legal status: “Domestic partnership.”

It may not be a life-altering change. After all, you can call yourself anything you want on a social network. And Facebook is merely that.

But, Lassiter notes: “I’m no different from all those other Facebook users whose identity is tied up with their Facebook pages, for better or for worse.”

And so, he says: “It’s high time. It’s an affirming gesture. It’s sort of one tiny step for gays, but a giant leap for gay rights.”

Facebook’s addition of civil unions and domestic partnerships to the list of relationships its users can pick from came after talks with gay rights organizations, including GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

I just wish everyone could stop referring to organizations as being for “gay rights” and other such nonsense. I realize it’s a conveniently short phrase, but there is no such thing as “gay rights”. Or “black rights”. Or “white rights”. Or “straight rights”. There are civil rights for everyone. When one group is denied them, we’re all denied them. After all, how can I possibly have a “right” to marriage if my state and the federal government refuses to recognize that same right for another group? As it stands, most states only have marital privileges.

Anyway. I’m glad Facebook has caught up with the reality of a huge number of human lives. Maybe the rest of the world can do the same.

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