Social media sites have seen an unprecedented number of people turning their profile images red in support of same-sex marriage as the US Supreme Court hears arguments on the issue.
The red HRC logo that went viral.
The campaign was launched by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – the largest LGBT rights group in the US – which posted an image of its logo in red on Facebook that quickly went viral.
“Red is a symbol for love, and that’s what marriage is all about,” HRC spokesperson Charlie Joughin told MSNBC.com on Tuesday. “We wanted to give people an opportunity to show their support for marriage equality in a public and visible way.”
By the end of Tuesday, the first day of oral arguments in the marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court, Facebook users had shared the red logo more than 100,000 times.
Thousands of people also went on to create their own red images or wore red in support. Openly-gay Star Trek actor George Takei’s red logo profile picture received tens of thousands of likes.
The creators of the hit vampire series True Blood also posted their own version of the red HRC logo, featuring a pair of fangs, while Groupon was one of the companies that saw employees dressing in red.
Thousands of protesters, for and against same-sex marriage, gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tuesday’s arguments before the court’s justices focused on the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in the state of California.
The measure, which was originally voted in through a state referendum, has been struck down by lower courts and has now progressed to the country’s highest court.
Most US commentators have said that it remains extremely difficult to predict what stance the Supreme Court will take on the issue and how broadly it will rule on the matter.
Protesters at the Supreme Court (Pic: HRC)
On Tuesday, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who could hold the deciding vote among the justices, described the Prop 8 case as venturing into “uncharted waters”.
He stated that there is little evidence on the impact of same-sex marriage as “we have five years of information to weigh against 2 000 years of history or more”.
Kennedy also noted, however, that the estimated 40,000 children of same-sex couples in California “want their parents to have full recognition and full status”.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear two hours of oral arguments relating to the constitutionality of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages legalised in individual states.
President Obama has come out in favour of repealing both Prop 8 and DOMA, arguing that they are discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Following the two days of arguments, the court is expected to issue its rulings on the cases at the end of June.
According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, a record high 58 percent of registered US voters support the right of same-sex couples to marry.