If you've been on Facebook today, you've noticed that a lot of your friends have changed their profile pictures to a red equal sign. This is because they support marriage equality. This is topical because the Supreme Court is hearing gay marriage cases today and tomorrow. This is also dumb because Supreme Court justices are not your Facebook friends.
I should state here that I am 100% pro-marriage equality. America is woefully behind on the times, and many of our citizens are persecuted daily by a legal system that doesn't recognize them.
With that said, changing your profile picture is one of the laziest things you can do to promote marriage equality. Yes, it's effective in convincing the viewer that there are many supporters of gay marriage. I'm still shocked by how many of my friends have changed their pictures. But it's simply not effective.
The people who decide the fate of marriage in America are not your high school friends or your college buddies or your co-workers. The people who hold America's future in their hands are in government. They are your president, your Congress, and your Supreme Court. They are your state governments. They're the ones you should talk to. And yes, I'm aware that some congresspeople have changed their profile pictures in support, but I'm sure they were already pro-equality.
Next election cycle, do some research on who you vote for. Make sure they're pro-gay marriage. Just voting for a Democrat isn't enough, as this isn't as clear a party issue as people might think. In between election cycles, write to your congressperson. Petition the White House.
Strength in numbers is important. Martin Luther King's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a uniquely powerful event in American history. But that's the important part: he marched on Washington.
Is a profile picture change better than doing absolutely nothing? Of course. I just wish this widespread show of support were done in a better way. I wish we could show the Supreme Court a live aggregator of picture changes. Or if instead of pictures, we each posted a thoughtful argument for why we support marriage equality. Just spitballing here. You get my point. I'm not even suggesting we get up from our computers, but that could be exactly what we need to do.
When it comes to pushing our country into the 21st century, we need to push harder than a couple clicks.