04.07.2012 Same sex marriage is made Facebook Official!

– By Ryan Davies, a Postgraduate student from Swansea University in Media and Communication Studies

Facebook has rolled out two new sets of cake toppers to adorn couples’ Facebook timelines when they choose the ‘married’ relationship status – groom-groom and bride-bride icons, for same sex married couples.

Up until recently, married gay couples have had to make do with the bride-groom icon that hovers on their timeline for all to see; or have ‘in a relationship’, ‘in a civil union’ or ‘in a domestic partnership’ as opposed to their actual married status; really, just they’ve  had to make do. 

The new cake toppers were unveiled just in time for co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, to decorate his timeline with them on the day of his wedding to long-term partner Sean Eldridge. The co-founder announced his marriage and raised awareness of the new icons with the 1,800+ likes on his marriage photo. Amongst them, a like from Mark Zuckerberg. Chris Hughes was among the first users on the site to use the new icons, and being an ambassador for gay power alongside his new husband he was definitely the ideal Facebook user to be at the forefront of the news.

These icons are now available to users in USA, UK, Canada, France and Australia after Facebook engaged with users in those countries and with equal rights organisations. Strangely the new icons aren’t available in Holland where same sex marriage has been legal since April 2001.

After giving gay users the option to be in ‘in a civil union’ or ‘in a domestic partnership’ in February last year, Facebook have now partnered with GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to try and halt the anti-gay abuse that some of their users find themselves privy to, and seem to be really pushing the site towards equal rights for same-sex relationships.

Alison Palmer, GLAAD’s head of campaigns and programming has revealed that Facebook is the first social media company to receive a GLAAD Media Award this year for its work alongside the organisation, partly as a result this new addition.

She explained to Mashable (an online social media news blog site):

“Following Facebook’s addition of domestic partnership and civil union to profile options last year, these new marriage icons for the timeline are another important way for same-sex couples to be recognised.”