The Power of Spreading Awareness: EQUAL

By Hashim Arain

Recently, you may have been seeing little red equal signs all over social media such as Facebook and Twitter feeds. This symbol is a way to raise awareness about the Gay Rights movement that is currently going on. According to ABC News, the Human Rights Campaign unveiled a new strategy to spread awareness about the Supreme Court hearing two important cases, which dealt with the issue of gay marriage. The first case was regarding California’s Prop 8 Law, which, according to the Huffington Post, was a ballot referendum that was passed in November 2008 banning gay marriage in the state of California.

After all was said and done on the first day of the hearing of this case, the general consensus was still unsure on how the Court would rule. According to the Huffington Post, even Justice Anthony Kennedy, who typically tends to be an independent tiebreaker on important decisions, was unsure on his vote in the case. It was also reported that Kennedy was concerned for the children of same-sex couples, and that he believed these children would want to see their parents have equal rights just as everyone else.

The day after hearing arguments for this case, the Supreme Court was set to hear arguments from the second case, which debated the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. DOMA was a law that was signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1996, which denies benefits, ranging from tax breaks to health insurance, provided by the employer to legally married same sex couples. After hearing arguments for this case, the mood of both the journalists, as well as the public was still unsure on how the Court would vote.

These two cases will have great historic outcomes once the Supreme Court reaches a decision. This will affect millions of LGBT Americans, and if the Court upholds the current laws, it will show that our society is moving forward, not backward. I believe the Human Rights Campaign came up with a great idea on showing the two sides, and why the two cases will add so much to America’s rich history.

This red “equal-sign” movement really gave uninformed people a chance to educate themselves on what is going on. Personally, I also wondered what this symbol was doing all over my news feed, and I imagine that, like me, many other people did too. It really helps to explain to people that are unaware, the type of discrimination that LGBT Americans are facing, in both cases; and to understand the historical significance of the decisions that are going to be made.

The HRC campaign used social media as an excellent tool to get their point across. Awareness is truly a powerful thing, and now that more people know, it will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court and, more importantly, the world react.