A Social Media Snapshot: Public Opinion, Marriage Equality and the Supreme Court

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court held hearings for Obergefell v. Hodges, a landmark case that could grant marriage equality to the nation as a whole. In her oral argument, plaintiff attorney Mary Bonauto noted that in this case, it is appropriate to consider changing societal views regarding marriage between gay couples.

Views on marriage equality have indeed shifted over the years and we are at the point where two out of three Americans support the right of gay couples to marry. According to various polls, 61% of Americans believe LGBT couples should be allowed to get married; 70% of young Americans support marriage equality; and 74% of Americans believe that sexual orientation should be a protected class. This shows a majority of Americans support marriage rights for gay couples.

Among these supporters were the hundreds of activists who showed up in front of the Supreme Court steps on the day of the hearing, rainbow flags and picket signs in hand. Though not physically present at the highest court in the land, there were also thousands of other people voicing their virtual support for marriage equality on social media.

The Twittersphere saw an outpouring of support in favor of marriage equality. The hearing was a trending topic on Twitter on Tuesday, with the #SCOTUS hashtag appearing in 57,944 tweets. Of the tweets referencing the case, 46.6% used language indicating support for marriage equality. In fact, on Tuesday alone, there were 61,422 tweets that used the HRC-sponsored hashtag, #LoveCantWait.

The hashtags listed below were most frequently used in #SCOTUS tweets.

SKDK marriage equality

Prominent figures took to social media to show their support for marriage equality. Hillary Clinton lent her highly discussed campaign logo to the cause by changing the colors to rainbow stripes.​ Senator Chuck Schumer urged the Supreme Court to stand on the right side of history by recognizing the freedom to marry. Senator Tammy Baldwin tweeted out the amicus brief she filed in favor of marriage equality.


Ellen DeGeneres posted one of the most popular tweets of the day, spreading her message to over 43 million people.


As this case runs its course, there is no doubt that the public will continue weigh in on social media. Twitter conversations have become a good indicator of social attitudes and the overwhelming support for marriage equality on social media points to a general consensus that #LoveMustWin.