What Is the Red Equal Sign All Over Facebook and Twitter?

The Human Rights Campaign has been promoting a symbol of equality to mobilize supporters as the Supreme Court begins hearings on gay marriage

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Human Rights Campaign / Facebook

Have you noticed that Facebook and Twitter users are changing their profile pictures and avatars to an image of a red equal sign?

That’s because the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, has been promoting an image of a pink equal sign over a red background in lieu of its blue-and-yellow logo to mobilize supporters online as the Supreme Court begins hearings on gay marriage today in Washington. A symbol of equality, the photo has racked up more than 25,000 likes and 78,000 shares on the group’s Facebook page in the past 24 hours. In fact, Mashable reports that since actor George Takei changed his profile picture to the red equal sign, the post has received more than 40,000 likes from fans.

(LIST: 13 Parodies of the Human Rights Campaign’s Red Equal Sign)

Today, the court is deliberating California’s Proposition 8, which bans the right for same-sex couples to marry. Tomorrow, arguments will be heard regarding the national Defense of Marriage Act, which has legally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman since 1996.

While the court’s favorability rating is at an all-time low, some supporters have taken to social media to add to the weight of public opinion. On Twitter — where Supreme Court ranks in the top 10 in the world’s trending list — supporters like actress Sophia Bush have changed their icons to the equal sign:

(MOREPride and Prejudice: An Interactive Timeline of the Fight for Gay Rights)

[tweet https://twitter.com/SophiaBush/status/316571220621549568]

Other followers, however, are skeptical about the efficacy of this social media tactic:

[tweet https://twitter.com/mollyfitz/status/316581235709325312]

MORE: Senator Mark Warner Endorses Gay Marriage. Who’s Next?