Facebook introduces same-sex marriage icons

Facebook has further broadened its recognition of gay relationships by rolling out new icons depicting same-sex couples.

Having added ‘In a Civil Union’ and ‘In a Domestic Partnership’ as options in the relationship status feature last year, the company has now provided an alternative to the existing marriage icons. Previously, when someone was listed as married, it automatically showed a man and woman ‘cake-topper’ image, but the changes mean both men and women can now be shown next to a figure of the same sex.

The new feature has already been demonstrated on the timeline of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who recently married long-time boyfriend Sean Eldridge. The announcement, pictured above, displays the new gay marriage icon and has received around 2,000 likes – including a thumbs-up from Mark Zuckerberg himself.

The move has been welcomed by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Vice president of campaigns and programs Allison Palmer said in a statement, "Following Facebook's addition of domestic partnership and civil union to profile options last year, these new marriage icons for timeline are another important way for same-sex couples to be recognised.

“This move is the latest in a series of measures Facebook has taken to support and include the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community, which earned it the distinction of being the first social media company to receive a GLAAD Media Award earlier this year."

Benjamin Cohen, former Channel 4 News technology correspondent and founder of LGBT news site Pink News, also praised the social network, tweeting, “Well done Facebook for finally offering same-sex marriage icons 4 gay couples! Now all I need is for someone to marry!”

The change follows the lead of Apple, which added emoticons of gay couples for the first time on the recently unveiled iOS 6 operating system.