Facebook Activism Meets the Increasing Support For Same-Sex Marriage
Right now my Facebook newsfeed is covered in red equality signs. This warms the cockles of my bleeding liberal heart, even though Facebook is essentially the “sitting on the couch eating chips and watching Netflix” version of activism. Like you have every intention of going to the gym, but maybe if you just do a couple sit-ups in between streaming episodes of Law and Order: SVU it’ll pacify your guilt. Essentially, posting a picture to a page is great in theory. Two thumbs up. Gold stars all around. I’m so glad the majority of my friends aren’t bigots. But what, when everything is said and done, is it really accomplishing? If you’re passionate about a cause, I would hope you’d take proper action to see that it’s being spoken for legally. Petitions, marches, and letters to your congresspeople are all great ways to do that. “Just sayin’”, she shrugs as she folds up her soap box.
But I digress. Really, it is remarkable how many of my friends have stepped forward to show their support, especially when that hasn’t always been so. I’m thinking back to when I first acquired a Facebook in 2006 and wondering if the same droves of people would be so open about their views on same-sex marriage then. My totally scientific hypothesis is a resounding “fuck nope” for a couple of reasons:
1) Facebook wasn’t even the same sort of social platform back then as it is now. The functions were much more rudimentary (everyone remember back to the stone age when you could only update your status on the basis that it fit into a “Chelsea is…” format? Oy. How times have changed.) and Myspace was still The Big Cheese of social media for 13 year-olds and pedophiles alike. We barely knew how to work Bookface much less make our pages outlets for political change.
2) I was 16 in 2006. At least in terms of my immediate, highly suburban circle of high schoolers I surrounded myself with, “activism” wasn’t really a word we were exercising freely…unless you’re talking about a petition to change the dress code, or something. SHORTER SKIRTS AND BELLY SHIRTS 4EVAH. But really, at that point in time, most of us could have cared less about marriage equality. I mean maybe if you straight up asked us about it we could feed you some views (see: most likely our parent’s views), but it was all together pretty much a non-issue for sexually repressed suburban teens. We were all too concerned with counting down the days until we got our braces off to be political constituents. Oh. And we couldn’t vote yet. Technically we didn’t matter, and we knew it. So there’s that.
3) Could it be-could it really, truly be that views have steadily been changing in favor of same-sex marriage? Is it possible that some people that were acne-ridden and sexually frustrated in 2006 are now taking the first baby steps into adulthood and, gasp, changing their minds?
This actually seems to be the case. According to pollingreport.com, opinions in favor of same-sex marriage are now outweighing those against it in the eight polls they’ve already conducted this year.
This is huge. This is thunderous. This is the beginnings of real change and social justice. But it’s been a slow-rolling ball thus far, and it seems like that trend isn’t one that’s going to budge anytime soon. It takes time for people to come around to “foreign” (non-white, non-hetero, non-male) ideas in this country, as history has shown with how long it took from the abolition of slavery (1833) to build momentum to the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement (1955). We’ve looked back in exasperation at how difficult it was for our foremothers to procure the right to vote, much less do anything else that didn’t include a toddler clenched to your teet. So it’s no wonder that marriage equality is a social issue on the same inc`h-by-inch victory system. Since 2004, support for same-sex marriage has been chugging along at the very methodic rate of a two percent increase each year. But slow and steady may, ultimately, win the race, because while we were happily instagramming filtered pictures of our omelets and tweeting about Dance Moms, the support quietly began to eclipse the resistance somewhere between 2011 and 2012.
Based on my totally scientific Facebook hypothesis, if the majority of my friends support the legalization of same-sex marriage (assuming I have a cross-section of friends that is equal to a demographic that votes and covers all ages, races, genders and socio-economic backgrounds from a variety of states), why can’t we expedite this charade? C’mon guys, I haven’t seen a sea this red since Moses parted it. The fact is, my Facebook friends don’t support a cross-section that is equally representative of the American people. My Facebook friends are mostly in the 18-34 age bracket and are probably, judging from my taste in real life friends, of liberal persuasion living in metropolitan areas. But rather than let this deter me from hope of change, I let it ignite me. It’s widely known that younger people are more liberal and accepting of social reform, and the more of us whom are eligible to vote are only going to strengthen numbers for the cause. Unfortunately, this is the type of social issue that will only see true justice once we rearrange the talking heads in power. What I mean is, we have to wait for all of the bigoted old fuckers in Washington to die off or get caught one prostitute or dick pic or bare-backing intern scandal at a time and hope for resignation due to complete hypocrisy. But I’m confident in the future of this country because my generation is ushering it in. And while we may have crippled face-to-face social skills, while we may not have written something down in good old-fashioned pen and paper in a couple of years, while we may have #firstworldproblems, we do see these issues from a much more tolerating and accepting perspective than the baby boomers collectively do. So vote and wait we are and vote and wait we must.
Anything is possible in terms of the Supreme Court’s decision on the two cases at large (that of DOMA and Proposition 8). But knowing that there is a moving national tide toward what I personally consider to be-the right side of history is enough hope for me to latch onto and run with.
Written by Chelsea J. Leibow
Follow her blog, Chelsea Twentysomething!
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