Perhaps you were one of the millions of people who logged onto Twitter or Facebook today and saw a bunch of red equal signs popping up on your blue-themed newsfeed. Maybe you thought it was linked to some type of math-related cause, or maybe you believed it was some abstract piece of modern art people were all of a sudden obsessed with.
This spike in curiosity is exactly what the the creators of the social media initiative wanted provoke in order to draw attention to important social decisions that are currently bubbling on Capitol Hill. The Supreme Court is presently discussing two landmark cases that could significantly change the country’s stance on gay rights. The first case seeks to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law signed by President Bill Clinton that defines marriage as heterosexual and denied federal benefits to gay couples. The second case is challenging California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage. With these two decisions being fervently discussed by the highest court in the U.S, people all over the world are joining together in collective social consciousness through their keyboards – posting this simple red and pink symbol in support of equality.
1. It Was Started by the Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign, which advocates equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, has been promoting an image of a pink equal sign over a red background in lieu of its blue-and-yellow logo to mobilize supporters online as the Supreme Court begins hearings on gay marriage today in Washington.
2. The Color Red Has Significance
The color red is used in this movement as a symbol for love. In a Facebook post today, the HRC asked gay marriage supporters to “paint the town red,” wearing red in their wardrobe as well on their Facebook pages, changing profile photos over to the HRC “=” logo.
3. It is Garnering Huge Support
A symbol of equality, the photo has racked up more than 25,000 likes and shared more than 114,000 times. Mashable reports that since Star Trek actor George Takei changed his profile picture to the red equal sign, the post has received more than 40,000 likes from fans. Other celebrities such as Mackelmore, Ricky Martin, Seth MacFarlane and Rob Kardashian are joining in the social media buzz. Beyonce put her own spin on the issue, sharing a hand-written message alluding to her popular song “Single Ladies” that says, “If you like it, you should be able to put a ring on it. #WeWillUniteForMarriageEquality” On that same note, #marriagequality is one of the top ten trending topics on Twitter.
4. Members of Congress Are Using It
It looks like the social media movement has not only affected celebrities as active politicians are joining in on the wave of red. In fact, the idea has even caught the eyes of Congress, with 13 members showcasing the symbol.
5. People Are Getting Creative With the Symbol
A second wave of reaction is hitting this social media phenomenon as people are taking it upon themselves to create their own rendition of the highly popular equality symbol. Facebookers have gone on Human Rights Campaign’s Facebook page and posted their take own the symbol for all to see. As you can see with these example, passion for both social causes and food runs deep.