Unless you have just come from the Eighties in a DeLorean, you know that recently, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of two laws impacting LGBT rights in the U.S.: the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman for purposes of marital benefits, and California’s Proposition 8, which only allowed recognition of heterosexual marriages.
To mark this occasion, little equal signs have been spontaneously appearing on Facebook profiles like weeds after rain.
The sign is a brainchild of the Human Rights Campaign, and several million people have already changed their profile pictures, ostensibly to show support for marriage equality.
While both those laws deserve to get stricken down, changing a profile picture isnot going to help anything, now or ever.
These equal signs are an effect of slacktivism.
Slacktivism happens when millions of people band together and perform an action, but the action is so insignificant it ends up being useless despite the beautiful sentiment.
The best example of this is the Kony 2012 video.
Good cause, but it did not help anything because nobody was willing to actually do anything that would help. Remember all those gag posts about Kony snatching more kids in the time it took for one guy to watch that? Those were definitely rooted in truth.
If you changed your profile picture and you do other things like participate in Pride parades, then that is awesome. Keep doing it. If you only change your picture and nothing else, you are part of the problem. Caring is not as good as doing, and we forgot that.
And did we forget who is deciding the case? The U.S. Supreme Court, who do not care about popular opinion. If the Supreme Court really bowed to public opinion, pot and gay marriage would have been legal years ago, and Antonin Scalia would have been tied naked to a hog and set loose into D.C. for repeat offenses of spewing Haterade.
The equal sign campaign, along with recent polls that show a majority of Americans support gay marriage, might have helped sway politicians, though.
But come on, when did “stand up and shout” become “lie down and mumble”? Get out there and really show some love and support for LGBT people, with more than a cute profile picture.