LGBT Emojis Help Promote Marriage Equality On Instagram Just In Time For Supreme Court's Historic Ruling
Move over rainbow flag, there are new gay symbols catching fire: the same-sex couple emojis. Emojis have always been ahead of their time when it came to inclusion of LGBT relationships. In this case, emojis may very well be ahead of a forthcoming Supreme Court ruling on whether states should accept same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere.
This week, Instagram released an update that made it possible for photos to be hashtagged using emojis. On the first day of the update, the emoji depicting two women holding hands had about 13,000 photos tagged to it. As noted by Quartz, that's over twice as many photos as were tagged to ever-popular "prayer hands" emoji.
The following day, on April 28, oral arguments were presented to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding a set of cases that would ultimately determine whether states had to legally accept same-sex marriages performed in other states. The Supreme Court's ruling won't be delivered until June, but legal experts have suggested that the judges could be tentatively leaning towards legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states.
The timing of Instagram's emoji hashtag update proved useful for proponents of marriage equality who were sharing photos on social media as a way to preemptively celebrate the Supreme Court's expected decision. Thanks to Instagram, these emojis quickly became a rallying symbol for the LGBT communities and supporters of same-sex marriage.
Americans already love to send LGBT-themed emojis — whether it's the same-sex couples, the rainbow flag, or the LGBT family. A recent study found that the U.S. sends more LGBT emojis than any other country in the world, so the fact that these specific emoji hashtags have taken off on Instagram is no surprise.
If every goes according to plan for proponents of marriage equality, we may need another emoji update come June. Maybe a two brides emoji is not too far off.