"Today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we have made our union a little more perfect." —@POTUS #LoveWins
On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States [SCOTUS] ruled in favor of marriage equality in a 5–4 decision. Here’s how the votes broke down:
This made same-sex marriages legal across all fifty states in America. Including Texas.
This decision by the judicial branch was an interpretation of the law that went into effect immediately. As of 10am on June 26, 2015, states were required by law to allow same-sex couples to marry, and they also had to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Same-sex marriages could not necessarily happen right away, giving states some time to implement the ruling—but in many cases, they happened quite quickly.
This tweet from President Barack Obama sparked the conversation—or perhaps the better word is celebration—online around the hashtag #LoveWins.
Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins
It was the most shared #LoveWins tweet.
The White House was highly vocal in their social media support of the SCOTUS decision. On Twitter:
"What an extraordinary achievement. What a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things." —@POTUS #LoveWins
Other government leaders tweeted:
Joe is running through the halls with a rainbow flagged tied on like a cape high fiving everyone. #MarriageEquaility #LoveWins #SCOTUS
Well, that’s a parody account.
But the Vice President showed his support.
All marriages at their root are about love. In America, our laws now recognize that simple truth. #LoveWins today & we couldn't be prouder.
As did the First Lady.
This decision recognizes the fundamental truth that our love is all equal. Today is a great day for America. #LoveWins -mo
Celebrations were held in physical spaces across America.
Crosswalks were painting in Seattle (and in Philly).
The iconic castle at Disney World was lit in rainbow colors:
Disney World tonight #LoveWins
People gathered in public spaces to share their joy:
LOOK HOW HAPPY THEY ARE! THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL!
While some couples hurried to make their partnerships legal marriages in the eyes of the government:
Gay couples in Texas begin obtaining marriage licenses: http://bit.ly/1dlAUGe
Are you one of them? #LoveWins #Pride
THIS COUPLE IS IN THEIR 80s THEY HAVE GONE TO GET A MARRIGE LICENSE IM NOT OK #LoveWins
Celebrities showed solidarity and gratitude:
#Lovewins over prejudice.
"And you can want who you want... Boys and boys and girls and girls." #lovewins #FINALLY
Really encouraged to be an American today... Love should live beyond labels & intolerance! #LoveWins #EqualityForAll 💛💚💙💜
When I checked Twitter this morning #LoveWins
#LoveWins "They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” - #SCOTUS, June 26, 2015
Love won. #MarriageEquality
Beyoncé was a bit late to the party, but she celebrated the ruling in true Queen B fashion with this Instagram video of her dressing up in different rainbow outfits.
Never Too Late #LoveWins
Brands adopted the rainbow and hashtag with zeal, from small, independent bookstores to one of the most recognized brands in the world.
It's now official. Love is love is love. #LoveWins
Content ranged from straightforward Photoshop jobs.
We’re on board. Diversity strengthens us all & today we celebrate #MarriageEquality & the landmark #SCOTUS decision.
Today’s ruling is the last step to ensure all couples can walk the aisle. See you in #Vegas. #HereComesthePRIDE
And smart copy:
Be proud. #equality #SCOTUSMarriage
To complex crafting and design:
Starting today, love knows no borders. #All50 #LoveisLove #MarriageEquality #ThisIsWholesome
Clever code updates to mobile apps:
Wherever you're celebrating, #RideWithPride. #LoveWins
And in-depth video stories of customers:
Ben & Jerry’s took things further than most brands. They renamed their chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to “I Dough, I Dough” for the summer of 2015 in support of marriage equality. It could be purchased online through the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States.
Tech brands and leaders got involved, too.
YouTube released a powerful video that has received almost 7M views. They tweeted it and it was featured on the Google homepage:
The United States took a step in the right direction today. https://goo.gl/yxnoHz #ProudToLove
Google tweeted a GIF that explains the pride flag:
The first #pride flag flew in 1978. Today we understand what it really means. #LoveWins https://goo.gl/QQZFfn
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO who publicly acknowledged that he was gay in October 2014, joined in on the conversation:
Today marks a victory for equality, perseverance and love.
Twitter came out with emojis to go with the hashtags #Pride and #LoveWins:
This is a monumental day for equal rights. Join the celebration by using the new Twitter emoji #Pride and #LoveWins: https://twitter.com/twittermedia/timelines/614450213403541504
And social media’s newest major player Snapchat had a real-time “Marriage Equality” story that many enjoyed:
Furthermore, countless brands switched their logos and avatars to rainbow versions.
And, knowing that not everyone is a graphic designer, Facebook made it easy for individuals to update their profile pictures with a rainbow filter with this announcement about their “Celebrate Pride” tool from Mark Zuckerberg himself:
More than 1M people used the rainbow filter on their profile picture in the first few hours of Facebook’s Celebrate Pride tool release. AdWeek reported 26M+ uses of the tool as of June 30, 2015.
Facebook told USA Today that 3.8M people in the U.S. had 10.1 million interactions (likes, posts, comments and shares) on Facebook related to the decision in the first hour after the SCOTUS announcement.
Mark Zuckerberg posted a map depicting the increase in the use of Facebook by the LGBT community leading up to the decision:
Our country was founded on the promise that all people are created equal, and today we took another step towards achieving that promise.Mark Zuckerberg
I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recognized as equal couples under the law.
We still have much more to do to achieve full equality for everyone in our community, but we are moving in the right direction.
And, according to the NY Times on the day of the ruling, “six million people in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer on Facebook.”
In the first four hours after the decision, there were over 6.2M twitter messages about the Supreme Court, or about 20,000 messages per minute.
Almost 2M photos have been tagged with #LoveWins on Instagram, according to Iconosquare.
AdWeek reported that there were 630,000 images posted with #LoveWins in the first six hours after the marriage equality decision. Interestingly, Instagram had just added their Explore channel (allowing users to check out trending hashtags) and search functionality specific to places in addition to people and hashtags mere days before the announcement.
The United States was far from the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage. This is a full list of the countries that had legalized marriage equality as of the U.S. announcement (from HuffPost Canada, a country that has had legal same sex marriage since 2005).
Ireland announced their marriage referendum on May 23, 2015, and the Human Rights Campaign (American) actually used #LoveWins in their announcement on Twitter:
They were the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote. Most people in Ireland used #MarRef to discuss their referendum online. Here’s an example of how the Irish covered the American ruling.
Ireland’s referendum went into effect in November 2015, but the Irish tourism industry was marketing to American LGBT couples not long after the SCOTUS ruling. One tourism company even used #LoveWins in the headline of their official press release.
Four years before the ruling, the book Love Wins was a New York Times bestseller about heaven and hell written by Christian leader and author Rob Bell. Just to prove that there are no original thoughts.
While many were celebrating the ruling on June 26 2015, the hashtag #finally had a strong correlation with #LoveWins. And others admitted that there’s still work to be done.
This has been illustrated by the fact that the use of #LoveWins hasn’t disappeared in the last year. Mere days ago, some people on Twitter responded negatively to this ad depicting an interracial family:
This lead to interracial families using #LoveWins to show support for diversity in advertising:
#LoveWins marked a historic day, but the fact that it’s still being invoked means that the fight for equal rights is far from over.
Maybe the ruling on marriage equality didn’t directly affect you—perhaps you aren’t gay or transgender, you don’t live in a city where traffic routes were affected by public celebrations, or you don’t work in a marriage licensing office.
But if you chose to plug in and check social media on June 26, 2015, the power of a tiny pound symbol gave you the ability to follow along, in real time, with nationwide happenings and dialogue on a truly momentous day.