Making marriage equal

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Same-sex marriage movement gains support, followers with social media

Social media exploded with pictures of equals sign over the spring break, with the advent of the Supreme Court hearings of the California Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases (Hollingsworth v. Perry and US v. Windsor, respectively).

The movement started by the Human Rights Campaign – involving changing profile pictures to their red and pink equals sign – helped to refuel the debate over the legality, morality, and practicality of same-sex marriage legislation.

Supporters spread the equality signs primarily through Facebook, although the campaign was active in spreading the agenda through other social media, such as Twitter and Tumblr.

Here on campus, members of the Delta Pride Club have been involved in spreading information about LGBT issues.

“We’ve distributed pamphlets and networked with nearby organizations to promote our message. In the process of sparking a debate, we received a lot of support from faculty, staff and students and it has motivated us to find new ways of getting the public involved in our fight for equality,” said Manuel C. Martinez III, current Delta Pride club president.

In the time leading up to the hearings, many public figures – notably President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz during a shareholders meeting – have come forth to show support for same-sex marriage.

This outpouring of support could be seen outside the courthouse with one person carrying a humorous sign to sum it all up, “Mawage is what bwings us here togeva,” in reference to a line from the movie, The Princess Bride.

Similar numbers of the opposition made their presence known – with signs that read, “Kids Do Best with a Mom and Dad,” – in support of a traditional definition of marriage and family life.

The Westboro Baptist Church members were also present.

If the court decides that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, it will have a profound effect on state law across the nation.

States will not have the powers to define marriage as solely the union between one woman and one man.

Currently, 38 states have legislation that prohibits same-sex marriage.

However, if the court decides not to make a ruling on this case, California will still have its ban overturned due to the rulings given by the lower courts, but the debate will continue from state to state.

In the case of DOMA, overturning  the legislation will mean that the federal government would have to recognize the federal rights – including Social Security survivor’s benefits and joint tax filing – of same-sex couples who are legally married by the states.

Those opposed to overturning the legislation have concerns about whether or not the federal government has a place in deciding on the issue.

Rob Portman, the Republican senator who recently changed his stance on same-sex marriage in support of his gay son, wrote in an op-ed piece, “The process of citizens persuading fellow citizens is how consensus is built and enduring change is forged. That’s why I believe change should come about through the democratic process in the states.”

Others are in direct opposition to the practice of gay marriage itself from a religious stance – groups such as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and the Roman Catholic Church being public supporters of the original same-sex marriage ban.

While Supreme Court justices have looked favorably on the idea of striking down DOMA, all eyes are turned towards Prop 8.

The case remains a divided issue in a court that will not hand down a ruling until late June, leaving many LGBT groups and supporters anxious for a favorable outcome.

“Any instance in which we remain silent on inequality that is protected by the state is an instance in which we give approval for potential state-sponsored discrimination on all groups. By striking down

Prop 8, we will give more individuals the opportunity to forge and protect lasting relationships with code benefits and societal approval,” said Martinez.