Facebook adds civil unions, domestic partnerships to relationship status options

Props to Facebook peeps. The word is spreading about their updates to the relationship status field. The HuffPo posted earlier that “civil union” and “domestic partner” are now listed under the field as options and are being rolled out as we speak.

The changes were made in consultation with Facebook’s Network of Support, a group that includes LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, and the Human Rights Campaign.

“As LGBT people face a pathwork of relationship recognition laws, this gives people more tools to adequately describe their relationship,” said Michael Cole, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. “Facebook has been a company that has tried to be inclusive of the LGBT community and this just one sign of it.”

Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters and former gay rights advisor to president Bill Clinton, echoed Coles’ praise.

from Huffington Post

—  Rich Lopez

BREAKING: Pentagon revises procedure for discharges under ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

In a change that one expert said could “dramatically reduce” discharges, the defense department issued new guidelines Thursday for enforcement of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

The new guidelines came in the wake of Wednesday’s decision by a federal appeals court to grant a temporary stay of a district judge’s order halting enforcement of the policy.

From Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly:

Until further notice, pursuant to a memorandum from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a follow-up memorandum from Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, no service member can be discharged under DADT without the ”personal approval of the secretary of the military department concerned, and only in coordination with me and the General Counsel of the Department of Defense.”

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said while the change could “dramatically reduce DADT discharges,” it doesn’t mean that gays in the military should come out.

“The Pentagon appears to be saying  to the court and to service members that it will provide all service members the protections already afforded officers, but with no delegation of that authority: All proposed DADT discharges, regardless of grade and rank, will be reviewed at the highest civilian levels. This can be a major constructive development for gay and lesbian service members,” Sarvis said.

“This important change could dramatically reduce DADT discharges, if DoD applies the Witt legal standard throughout the military, which requires the Pentagon to find that gay service members would harm military readiness, unit cohesion and good order, before they are discharged. But this Pentagon guidance memo does not end DADT. It is still in place, and service members should not come out.

“The fact that DADT remains law further underscores the urgent need for the full Senate to vote for repeal when it returns to lame-duck session next month.”

—  John Wright