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Facebook says I’m a 29 year old female living in San Francisco. Twitter says I like puns and bad jokes (@The_PUNisher_SF). Reddit upvotes and says I LOVE puns and bad jokes. And this blog tells you about my experiences using social media sites and learning to fit them all together into my life. www.facebook.com/TheBigSocialPicture

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Equal signs for equal rights

Today on Facebook, you may have noticed people changing their profile pictures to a variation of this image:
 
This profile pic is to show support of marriage equality for same-sex couples, while the US Supreme Court hears arguments this week for and against DOMA and California's Prop 8. 

As we've seen before, changing your profile picture can be an effective way to raise awareness and get people talking about an issue.  This movement was started by the Human Rights Campaign on their Facebook page, and already has been shared over 30,000 times in 10 hours.

George Takei also posted about this movement on his Facebook page.  With over 4 million followers, he has an influential voice on the Internet which is certainly helping to spread awareness.

What is Prop 8?
Prop 8, which passed in California in 2008, is meant to restrict a marriage to be between a man and a woman.  It won by a small margin and took away rights for same-sex couples to marry under California law.  Even though it passed, opponents have not stopped advocating against it, and it is now being evaluated by the US Supreme Court.  Arguments for and against the act will be heard on Tuesday, March 26th, and a ruling will likely be made sometime in June.

What is DOMA?
The Defense of Marriage Act was a federal law enacted in 1996 which, like Prop 8, defines a legal marriage as between a man and a woman.  Under this law, a state is not required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.  Because it's a federal law, it affects large issues like tax, financial, and welfare benefits for same-sex couples.  Although it was signed into effect by President Clinton, he is now a supporter of its repealing act, RFMA (Respect For Marriage Act).

What can you do to help?
Change your profile picture to raise awareness, and check out the HRC's website to learn about local events and other ways to help.  If you're not willing to help, you might enjoy this video.
Ariel and Joey Owens-Barham celebrating their nuptials

Other links to learn more:
The Human Rights Campaign website
The HRC's Facebook page which started the profile pic change
CNN article about the complexity of the issue
Guardian UK's comprehensive write-up, including possible outcomes
Wikipedia pages:   Prop 8    DOMA    RFMA

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