Facebook, Why So Red?
For those of you who are a little late to the game, you’ve probably noticed that scores of Facebook profile photos were replaced by a simple red equal sign yesterday.
Why, might you ask, would so many people choose this sign? What does it mean? Much like other Facebook fads, such as posting the color of your bra for breast cancer awareness, or changing your photo to a Disney character doppelganger for awareness of sex crimes against children, this week’s Facebook fad has a cause, and the cause is support of gay marriage.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court began hearings about the same-sex marriage laws DOMA and California’s Proposition 8. Here’s a quick breakdown:
The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is a federal law that was enacted in 1996. It restricts the federal benefits and federal recognition to only opposite-sex marriages in the United States. Basically, DOMA says gay marriage is not legal on the federal level, and no U.S. state is required to recognize same-sex marriages of another state. This law also omits same-sex spouses from the many benefits enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts: joint tax returns, immigration, Social Security benefits for survivors, and many insurance benefits, including those for the spouses of government employees.
This bad boy was signed into law 17 years ago by none other than Playboy Bill Clinton, himself. If anybody has the right to sign a law about the sanctity of marriage, it’s the only president to ever step down as a result of his infidelity, right?
Well, opinions aside, many federal courts have found DOMA to be unconstitutional, and Clinton & crew have changed sides on the matter. Obama, as a staunch Christian, even supports the repeal of DOMA, and made a very polarizing speech during last year’s election campaign in support of marriage equality for all. Things began to change. People started to realize that they might find themselves on the “wrong side of history” very soon.
As for California’s Proposition 8,the story is a little stranger. Back in June of 2008, the Supreme Court of California made a landmark decision regarding equal protection in the state. People across the country rejoiced to hear that gay marriage was finally allowed in California, the “progressive” state. So, election season rolled around, and Proposition 8 cropped up. It had something to do with gay marriage, and you only had to vote yes or no. Simple, right? Supporters vote yes for gay marriage, Many California voters truly believed that they were voting gay marriage into law following the decision of the Supreme Court, when they were actually voting yes to a new amendment banning gay marriage, which voided the court’s earlier decision. That was almost 5 years ago, and nothing has changed. Until now.
Today, Wednesday, marks the second and final day of hearings about gay marriage. And social networkers everywhere are showing their support with their happy red equal signs. Both DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 are up against the chopping block, as well as Obama’s Healthcare plan, (which may never leave the chopping block as long as he’s in office).
Stay tuned to the coverage in Washington, but don’t hold your breath. Some reports say they might dodge the decision, while others say they don’t have to post their final decision for several months.