The Internet went red for marriage equality today. As oral arguments are being held before the Supreme Court covering Prop. 8 and DOMA, social media profiles around the world are shifting to a red equal sign in support. I, too, changed my profiles and posted links and images to my various accounts.
While those against marriage equality have their own arguments, there are a handful of naysayers within the pro camp, indicating that changing your profile picture is meaningless, joking that the Supreme Court is “tallying them up now” or declaring that preaching to the choir, as it were, is ineffectual.
I’ve occasionally held these opinions myself, when it comes to online slacktivism in the face of social change. But I think there are two very good reasons to show your support of marriage equality, both online and off.
The first is personal. These hearings are being compared with other groundbreaking human rights decisions the Supreme Court has historically made, progressing the United States forward legally and socially. In twenty years, when asked by my niece or nephew what I remember about this time and how I participated, I will be proud to talk about the marches marched, emails sent, money donated, votes rocked, and, yes, pictures updated online. Though my online contributions are just a portion of my overall efforts, they are a part of the rising tide of support for marriage equality. Even if nobody asks how I remember March 26, 2013, I will still be proud knowing that my actions reflected my beliefs.
The second reason is social. For all of my friends, family, colleagues and loved ones currently being denied rights: I am standing with you. (Heck, for strangers, I am declaring my support to everyone I engage with online.)
In a world where someone is unsure whether coming out is appropriate, I hope the wash of red he sees online will let him know there is an army of people on his side, willing to stand and act for his civil rights and his right to love.