March 26, 2013
As the Supreme Court begins hearings into gay marriage, supporters are sending a message to Washington, D.C., by making a change to their Facebook profiles.
A red and pink version of the Human Rights Campaign's blue and gold equality symbol has been replacing avatars today across that social network and others.
The push began to gain traction after George Takei posted about it on his widely popular Facebook page, which has nearly 4 million fans.
"For those friends wondering, this special 'red' equality symbol signifies that marriage equality really is all about love," Takei wrote. His post had more than 50,000 likes and 20,000 shares as of Tuesday morning.
In response to a Facebook question asking about changing avatars, Edmund Cruz, of Belmont-Cragin, was impressed by how the message was spreading. He did a little research first before deciding to change his avatar.
"The power of social media, being able to spread awareness like wildfire!" he wrote.
Kathy Brandon changed her avatar, and had some strong words.
"The fact that we're even debating this issue in 2013 is ridiculous," she wrote.
Steff Amacher, who said she doesn't usually share her political opinions on Facebook, was compelled.
"I felt this issue, and the historic hearing in Washington, were too important to do/say nothing," the South Loop resident wrote.
Michonne Omo of Rogers Park took a different approach. She said that while she has shown her support in many ways, she doesn't feel like she needs to change her profile picture to be fully supportive.
"I shared a related photo, and I feel like this is a very important issue. I have many friends and loved ones for whom this will be a life-changing decision, but I don't feel like changing my profile picture is going to change anything," Omo wrote.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will consider the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which limits the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples. Rulings are expected by the end of June.
Fiona Murphy, formerly of Chicago and now living in Racine, Wis., was among those who switched her avatar.
"It's amazing how loud an image can be without making a sound," she wrote.
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