Gay marriage equality box spreads on social media

Bud Light said it with beer cans and Martha Stewart with red velvet cake as companies and celebrities from Beyonce to George Takei joined millions of social media users in posting and tweaking a simple red logo in support of gay marriage.
Associated Press
Mar 28, 2013



A square box with thick pink horizontal lines (the mathematical equal symbol) was offered for sharing this week by the Human Rights Campaign as the U.S. Supreme Court took up arguments in key marriage rights cases.

The image, replacing profile pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and elsewhere, is a makeover of the advocacy group's logo, usually a blue background with bright yellow lines. The HRC made it available in red — for the color of love — on Monday and estimated tens of millions of shares by Wednesday.

"It shows the enthusiasm and the passion," said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the nonprofit in Washington, D.C.

Like viral campaigns of yore, supporting breast cancer awareness (pink), President Barack Obama (change your middle name to Hussein) and even Arab Spring (green), a bit of fatigue set in on some social media streams by those questioning whether such efforts serve to change any minds or, put simply, are plain annoying.

"My Facebook feed is a cascading aesthetic nightmare. Thanks, equality," Washington Post writer Dan Zak wryly grumbled on Twitter.

A photo of Justice Anthony Kennedy made the rounds with the quip: "Before we make a ruling, did enough people change their Facebook profile picture?!"

None of that mattered to the masses of same-sex marriage supporters. Some swapped matzoh for the pink lines as Passover got under way, or added frowny Internet star Grumpy Cat, who explained marriage equality would make her happy.

Bert and Ernie showed up against the red background. (They're best friends with no plans to marry, according to Sesame Street.) Another version featured Paula Deen atop the red square and lines turned a shade of yellow akin to her favorite fatty ingredient and the tagline: "It's like two sticks of butter y'all."

Takei, a noted punster with nearly 4 million followers in Facebook, turned the equal sign into the division sign for those opposed to marriage equality.

Beyonce, with more than 44 million followers there, played it straight, leaving the logo alone and adding a personal message: "It's about TIME!!! (hash)EQUALITY (hash)MarryWhoYouLove.

Fergie let the image speak for itself on Twitter, adding: "No words necessary." Montana Sen. John Tester, a Democrat who endorsed same-sex marriage on Tuesday, put the logo up as his profile on Facebook while the clothing site Bonobos swapped its usual Facebook pic for the red square using fancy white pants for the equal sign.

Martha Stewart's Facebook page used a slice of red cake with white icing to make the image and the HBO page for "True Blood" added fangs.

All in good fun?

"There's a lot of serious conversation going on and there's an awful lot of important concepts that the Supreme Court justices are discussing," Sainz said. "What this logo going viral means is individuals have reduced it to a very straightforward concept."

Steve Jones, a professor of online culture and communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago, wondered whether all the mash-ups muddle the message.

"Once you throw it together with something like Grumpy Cat it's fun," he said. "But was this message intended to be fun?"




Thanks for explaining what the red box stands for. Now I know whether to buy something or not.

The Bizness

To be a bigot or not?


big·ot/ˈbɪgət/ Show Spelled [big-uht] Show IPA
a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

^^Pot meet Kettle.

The Bizness

I am always open to new ideas.

Science and math are my guiding principles.

BW1's picture

Not when it comes to things like supply and demand. You've demonstrated precious little grasp of your "guiding principles."

Phil Packer

I think them people needs to Straighten UP And Fly Right.


Hey, let's completely get side tracked over this new cause celeb and see what crazy legislation congress passes while it happens.... its funny how people will rally behind a poplur cause and in the meantime completely forget all of the larger problems at hand. I'm all up for equal rights, but with the economy being where its at... I think we have more important things to worry about.


Completely agree. WAY MORE Important things to worry about.


Yeah! Why were people worried about ending segregation when we could have been focusing on banking regulations and tax code?


comparing apples to oranges here... there is a bit of a difference between human rights and civil liberties. like i said, i have nothing against the union of same sex marriages, actually i am for it, equality is to be shared by one and all and not to be denied because of ones preferences, but i think at this point in time where the united states has a crippled economy, there are multiple wars and conflicts that america seems to feel the need to stick it's nose in, and americas current drug epidemic... i feel this whole equality movement is the last thing we should be worrying about...

and if you want to take a trip back in time... had we worried about banking legislation all of those years ago just as much as we worried about human rights back then, gone after both with equal fervor, maybe, just maybe the banks wouldnt have gained the power to put us in the situation that we're in today... just throwing that out there.


honestly no matter what color symbol and whatever people support business will go on. We say we will boycott something because of what they support but that promise to boycott that thing goes void because we all get cravings for starbucks or the next item of support for equality. People said they would boycott Chick-fil-A for not supporting gay marriage but it's their food the keeps people going back.


I do not care about sexuality of businesses. I will eat, drink, buy whatever I want, the sexuality of the person selling it, making it, showing it has NOTHING to do with me or my family. I will say that I have NOT ate at an IHOP since the ones in Toledo were raided and the funding of terrorism claims. If you are truly against something you will stick to your values. Homosexuality does not affect me, terrorism does.


I agree. There are several companies that have said things with which I don't agree, but I continue to buy from them because they have a right to an opinion even if I think it's wrong. UNLESS...

There are several companies that I have long boycotted. and which I will continue to boycott, because their opinions (usually reinforced with lots of big money donations to their chosen cause) actually have a real, immediate, and negative effect on the rights of ALL. It doesn't matter HOW much I crave something or think I need something! If you don't have principles, you've got...nothing.


Teufel Hunden. Still hated. No problem.


Marriage is between a man and woman. Nuff said.