New York: Facebook has added two relationship statuses -- `civil union` and ` in a domestic partnership`, to help homosexual couples in defining their romantic arrangements on the social networking site.
These new options will be available to users in US, Canada, France, UK and Australia.
The Facebook, which has 600 million users worldwide, made the change after consulting with various rights groups, according to the NY Daily News.
These two options augment the site`s existing relationship statuses, which include single, in a relationship, in an open relationship, engaged, married, divorced, widowed, and separated.
Meanwhile, Human-rights groups have hailed this as significant step forward for the greater equality of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community and of sex unions.
"I think it`s important to be able to recognise and describe the legal status of same sex couples," Marriage Equality media director Mollie McKay was as quoted by Daily News.
"It`s good visibility and good to show everyone on Facebook that same-sex couples exist, and are denied the status of marriage," she said.
Same-sex marriage licenses are granted only a few of the fifty states in the US including New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington DC.
These marriages are called "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" depending on the state. The meaning of both terms also varies in different states.
Following the change made by Facebook, Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said "Today, Facebook sent a clear message in support of gay and lesbian couples to users across the globe."
"By acknowledging the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples in the US and abroad,
Facebook has set a new standard of inclusion for social media," he added.
In US there are different views on the homosexual relations with some states like New York recogonise it but do not conduct gay marriages.
Recently, Barbara Bush publicly disagreed with her father former President George W Bush on gay marriages, when the 29-year-old openly endorsed same-sex marriages in a video for an advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.
President Bush has opposed gay marriages. A bill to legalise gay marriage in New York was defeated in 2009.