Published on The Seattle Lesbian.
Ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality hearings, youth leaders from several national organizations including COLAGE, One Million Kids, the Outspoken Generation, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and The Rainbow Letters have launched #OurTurnNow, a social media effort to raise youth voices in support of nationwide marriage equality. The youth leaders are calling on their generation to unite their voices in the simplest way – by posting messages and images of support on social media using the hashtag #OurTurnNow. The collection of messages will be displayed on the campaign website ourturnnow.org.
The social media campaign evolved from a Valentine’s Day idea thought up by 12-year-old Abigail Hasting-Tharp and a group of her friends in Oregon. The group wanted to send the U.S. Supreme Court Justices Valentine’s Day cards as a gesture to urge them to support love.
“Anyone, anywhere, should be allowed to declare their love for anyone and feel safe to do so regardless of gender,” said Hasting-Tharp.
Unsure of how quickly they could rally enough support for the Valentine’s Day delivery, Abigail and her friends decided to unite with other youth groups for an even larger presence online.
“Laws should be no barrier to love. This is why we hope those with the power to make change – justices, politicians and everyday people – will support marriage for everyone, including those who are the same gender,” Hasting-Tharp said.
According to the Movement Advancement Project, same-sex couples can marry in 35 states and Washington, D.C. There are also three states where appellate or federal court rulings have been stayed or contravened and marriage licenses are currently unavailable to same-sex couples statewide.
“Everyone deserves a happily ever after,” said Hasting-Tharp. The #OurTurnNow campaign aims to use social media to unite youth allies and inform the adults of the country that “we think differently. Love should be celebrated, not shunned.”
To show support using their social media networks, youth are asked to creatively express their views on marriage equality using #OurTurnNow. The campaign encourages youth to get involved ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing through sharing messages of love and support, selfies, or photos of their same-sex-headed families. On April 28, the campaign will come together in a social media storm where youth can stand in solidarity with those on the ground rallying for marriage equality throughout the United States.
“This project was inspired by youth advocates, and our roles as partners has been to empower young people to share their voices; voices that have been a powerful agent of change in the struggle for our families’ equality,” said Annie Van Avery, Executive Director of COLAGE.
The campaign is operating with the advising support from several leading LGBTQ advocacy organizations, including Marriage Equality USA, Family Equality Council, GLAAD, GLSEN, The Personal Stories Project, and Our Family Coalition.