Equal Signs of the Time: Facebook Profile Pictures for the Supreme Court and Same Sex Marriage

by David on March 31, 2013

If you were on Facebook last week, you had to have seen all of the red equal signs as your friends’ profile pictures as a sign of support for same sex marriage. From what I can tell, it started as part of the Human Rights Campaign‘s effort to increase awareness and show support for marriage equality.

First I saw the equal signs. Then they started to change color. Then came the rings which seemed creative until I saw the cakes and Rothkos. (If this has helped to increase appreciation for modern art, that would be great.) Hearts started to show up along with animals. Of course there were the cats, and more cats. But then the dogs started coming and as I looked around, there were some other animals as well. Characters began to appear. Star Wars, Star Trek and Sesame Street seem to be favorites. Video game characters would not be left behind and several appeared animated. Superheroes, well my friends who know me well know that once I saw a Wonder Woman equal sign, I was hooked. And with the unicorns (the running joke in my house is that when asked what I would do if I had the last living unicorn, my answer without pause was “Eat it”) I had to see what else there was.

There were maps, flags and religious symbols. The last flag I found was the most satisfying as it integrated the equal sign into the flag. I had been wondering why no one had done that. It seems that the season is important to the development of memes like this as there was a lot matzah for Passover and Easter brought us bunnies, eggs, peeps and the like.

The last I found were the personalized images. I finally gave up gathering those as there was little diversity among the ones I uncovered last. My favorite was the one with the iPhone as it almost captures the meme of Congressional photos that will force someone to resign. While I would have expected to see Hilary Clinton in one, John Boehner was hilarious and the one that incorporated the 9 Supreme Court justices was creative. John Cusack switching from Peter Gabriel to an equal sign was good as was the planting of the equal sign on the moon.

Below you will find what may be the most comprehensive collection of equal signs from last week. I don’t want to debate the issues so please don’t comment on them. I will admit that one of the images was created as an anti-abortion icon and the artist did not want it to be included as a pro-marriage equality icon. Screw it… I did. I’m also not sure if the guns are for or against as freedom to bear any arms tends to be popular in the same states that are overwhelmingly opposed to same sex marriage. ┬áBack to my point, I gathered these images as I am intrigued by the iconography surrounding this issue. It spread quickly, broadly and, most of all, creatively. I haven’t counted but I think there are approximately 400 images here.

There was one thing missing: a QR Code. Regular readers will note that I love QR codes and wish they would take off. So, I created one for the HRC:






Oh, for the faint of heart, stop before the end which is where the NSFW images are. If you were wondering if there were any with penises, remember that this is the internet.

Note that some (e.g. one of the Pongs) are animated but WordPress doesn’t want to display that. Consider them appropriately Easter Eggs for you to find and click through.

If you’ve seen more, please add them in the comments. If you want to debate the issues, please return to Facebook and talk amongst your friends.



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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Robyn Weisman March 31, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Great post. I’ve also seen ones with Bert and Ernie, the Statue of Liberty kissing Columbia, and a few others. It’s really heartening to see!


David March 31, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Thanks, Robyn. The Statue of Liberty is in there with the kiss. Bert & Ernie are up there 3 times: smiling, singing and kissing.


Robyn Weisman April 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Ugh, I can’t believe I missed them!


David April 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm

It’s easy to miss. There are just too many ;-)


Marc Chevalier April 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm
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