A New Proposition for Gays Tying the Knot
When New York passed marriage equality last summer, New York couple Sam Street and Jonathan Tack had been together for 13 years. Encountering difficulties in finding appropriate wedding bands, the men founded Proposition Love, an online jewelry site that offers a wide selection of rings and other accessories and donates a percentage of profits to the marriage equality movement.
"The tradition of going to Tiffany's or a mainstream jeweler just wasn't appropriate for us," said Tack. "I had a jewelry background and there was a need in the LGBT community for this. So we formed Proposition Love, which is a double entendre on a proposal, as well as a nod to Prop 8. We also decided to be proactive in the marriage equality movement by giving a portion of proceeds back to gay marriage."
The two men had traveled to California to get married, and were one of the 18,000 couples whose union was grandfathered in before Proposition 8 voter initiative took effect.
"It was before the Presidential election, and John McCain and Sarah Palin had said that if elected, they would do away with gay marriage. So we didn't know whether we would ever see it in our lifetime," said Tack.
"It was a bittersweet experience for us," added Street.
Their business has been in the works for a couple of years. The men exhibited at this year’s New York LGBT Expo at the Javits Center, and their website will go live this month. It features a blog from Street with the latest marriage equality news and events in the U.S. and around the world.
It was Street who came up with the idea of using the triangle symbol in the design of some of the jewelry, noting the history and importance behind the symbol.
"We also have a classic collection," said Tack. "There is something for everyone. Our Countdown Collection features a ring for each of the states that passed marriage equality, with the date when the legislation was passed. As each state passes marriage equality, we will honor them and dedicate a ring for their state as a callout and reminder. We’re not going to stop until we have all 50 states!"
Street and Tack said that they wanted to target the higher-end market and make a better quality product than they had seen in their search for wedding bands. The price points range from $95-$2,000 retail, and rings can be ordered in 14 carat gold, white gold, yellow gold, and a cobalt alloy that is white in appearance, and all can be inlaid with diamonds. The Proposition Love logo is engraved on the inside of all of the jewelry.
"This isn’t just about rainbow flag jewelry," said Tack. "We’re not doing that. We’re making quality pieces...and the reaction we’re getting is tremendous."
Proposition Love has a gay Pride ring ready to launch for the upcoming Pride festivities, and will also carry pendants for straight allies, "reminiscent of the Lance Armstrong Livestrong bracelet." People have also scooped up the company’s T-shirts featuring the Prop Love logo and pink triangle.
Tack and Street have partnered with a factory in the U.S. to make their jewelry, and offer engraving on all pieces. Their headquarters are in New York, and their business partner, Julie Hartstein, runs the California office.
"There is a whole worldwide movement supporting marriage equality, and we want to be a part of it," said Street. "You think things are changing, but they don’t sometimes if you become complacent about what’s happening. It is important for us to be active for our rights."
For more info, visit www.propositionlove.com