Traditional Media One Ups Social Media in Marriage Equality Race to the Finish Line

This week’s marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) have been nothing short of historic. For the generations that have come of age since America’s last civil rights victories in the 1950s and 1960s, which is pretty much social media’s biggest demographic everybody, the tidal wave of support has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Facebook and Twitter feeds turned into a sea of red and pink, as gays, lesbians and supporters changed profile pictures to a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) logo designed specifically for this week. And, in true social media fashion, silly riffs on the original were fast and furious, with everyone from Martha Stewart to Peeps Easter candy getting into the act. That’s social media for you.

So, who can blame some older school ways of getting the word out like digital and print, and namely Time magazine, from wanting a piece of the fast-breaking action? Professional and armchair SCOTUS watchers will tell you that it is nearly impossible to read any court decision based on the brief hearings conducted by the nine justices, regardless of their typical liberal or conservative leanings. But tweets and blog posts coming from Washington were cautiously optimistic that both California’s Proposition 8 (which took away the right of gay and lesbian Californians to marry) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans federal recognition of same-gender marriages performed at the state level, were on their way to the discrimination dustbin.

While decisions on either case may not come from the SCOTUS until the end of June, what are remaining print sources supposed to do? Time took a gamble this morning when it issued the digital version of its print magazine (still four days away from newsstands) proclaiming “Gay Marriage Already Won.” For good measure, there will be two versions of this cover, one showing two women kissing, the other showing two men.

Granted the subtitle of the four-page digital story claims that while SCOTUS may not have decided the issue yet, the American public has. (Surveys report anywhere from a solid 51% of Americans now favor marriage equality to upwards of 60%.) The younger and more social media-savvy those surveyed, the higher the supporters go – which according to Time makes marriage equality a done deal. New people being born and old people dying is a tradition older than marriage.

All this is good news for equality, justice and a country that claims everyone is created equal yet has an ugly law in place that denies same-sex married couples 1,138 rights afforded to opposite-sex married couples (including Social Security benefits, inheritance laws, joint tax filings and immigration – just to name some of the most devastatingly denied). Of course, should SCOTUS buck the court of public opinion later this year, that will probably be a much more serious story than Time magazine’s print edition taking a leap of faith to try beating social media to the finish line with this story.

Which brings to mind another Time magazine cover from 16 years ago next month. Essentially Time scooped all its mainstream competitors back in April 1997 when it detailed sitcom star Ellen DeGeneres decision to out her TV character as a prelude to her own coming out in real life. (Yes kids, life was so much more complicated in those early Internet days). DeGeneres’ bold move at the time was worthy of a national magazine cover that (temporarily) ended her television career. I think we all know how that turned out.

Photo credits: Time magazine covers courtesy of Time.com. To see the alternate gay marriage cover featuring two men, click here

Peeps for Equality

Is your Facebook newsfeed smothered in a sea of red and pink this week? What’s it all about? Well, the original version, a pink equals sign on a red background, is the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) logo (traditionally yellow and blue). It’s been turned red and pink for marriage equality.

This week, two ground-breaking civil rights cases are having their day before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). First up, on Tuesday was California’s Proposition 8 case – which took away gay and lesbian couples’ existing right to marry in that state. This was followed by a case called United States v. Windsor, challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing any marriages performed in states where same-sex marriage is legal.

Getting a seat in the highest court of the land is tough business, and for a lot of us, Washington DC is really, really far away. But, a majority of Americans now favor same-sex marriage (surveys range from a solid 51% to upwards of 60%), and want everyone to know. Posting the HRC-generated logo was a first step on Monday.

As the week moved on, and the arguments before SCOTUS came to a close, social media began to take itself far less seriously as it is wont to do. A number of riffs on the HRC red and pink logo began to emerge, with everyone from Martha Stewart to Peeps Easter candy getting into the act.

Clearly, the court of public opinion has weighed in heavily on the side of equality. Slate.com has a gallery of some of the more creative versions.

Photo source: “The Best Variations on the Red Equals Signs”, Slate.com.

Justin Bieber Collapses on Stage, Recovery Instagram Posted Stat

We like a good publicity stunt almost as much as we like a hot Instagram to slap up on our blog.

A breaking story on Yahoo!7 Music reports that teen heartthrob Justin Bieber collapsed at the end of his show in London tonight and had to be rushed to a hospital. “He got very light of breath,” said Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun. A rep for the pop star stated that Beiber “fainted”.

But forget managers and reps. Fans and social media mavens can get the real story by checking our Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Bieber (@JustiinBieber) has since tweeted: “getting better. thanks for everyone pulling me thru tonight. best fans in the world. figuring out what happened. thanks for the love.”

But words are always better with a photo. So, Bieber then took to Instagram where he posted this photo shown here, with the update “”Gettin better listening to Janis Joplin”.

We have a feeling Bieber’s young fans are going to like his new casually draped hospital gown look. We also think once their parents grandparents explain to them who Janis Joplin is, the late rock star who never knew Twitter, Instagram or Facebook will surge on iTunes.

Source: Yahoo!7 Music, “Justin Bieber Collapses on Stage During Concert in London.”
Photo credit: Justin Bieber/Instagram.