A jewelry company that has stood the test of time has recently made headlines by incorporating a same-sex couple in their newest advertising campaign.

Tiffany & Co., founded in 1837, is synonymous with its jewelry. According to the company’s website, “The masterpieces of Tiffany & Co. have defined style and celebrated the world’s great love stories.”

The advertising campaign, entitled “Will You?” features seven couples in its newest campaign, one of whom are two homosexual men sitting on a porch in New York City.

“Tiffany is excited to launch its new “Will You?” engagement campaign, reflecting a modern approach to love and romance,” Linda Buckley, vice president of Northern America Public Relations on behalf of Tiffany & Co., said in an email. “Nowadays, the road to marriage is no longer linear and true love can happen in a variety of forms.”

However, there has been a slow road to this level of acceptance.

According to a PBS timeline titled “Milestones in the American Gay Rights Movement,” in April 1952, homosexuality was listed on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a “sociopathic personality disturbance.”

The following year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order banning gay individuals “from working for the federal government or any of its private contractors,” according to PBS. “The Order lists homosexuals as security risks, along with alcoholics and neurotics.”

In fact, America’s first gay pride parade didn’t come around until June 28, 1970, according to PBS. This first march took place in New York’s Central Park.

Today, 36 out of 50 states have legalized gay marriage, according to ProCon.org, a “nonprofit public charity” whose purpose is to “provide resources for critical thinking and to educate without bias.”

Crystal Rivera, a gay senior and criminal justice major at Plattsburgh State, said she thinks that Tiffany could have made this move sooner than they did. Not only does she consider it a strategic business move on Tiffany’s part, she also said she thinks this will put pressure on other companies to do the same.

“If people of the same sex want to get married,” Rivera said, “customers will feel comfortable (going to Tiffany) because they know that company supports them.”

“If one person wants to love another person, no matter what the sex is, they should be allowed to do that,” Rivera said. “We’re all human, we’re all happy, and we all want the same thing.”

Rodney Ambroise, also a senior and criminal justice major, said he approves of Tiffany’s newest advertising campaign. However, for him, the issue of marriage is not only a social one, but a religious one as well.

“The advertisement helps support homosexuals who engage in matrimony see equality,” Ambroise said. “The word ‘marriage’ should be reworded for them because, in religious terms, it is a union between a man and a woman.”

Ambroise said he believes that LGBTQ couples who pursue this equivalency of marriage should have the same benefits as a heterosexual, married couple.

Ambroise also said everyone has his or her own beliefs and that no one’s beliefs should be forced or pressured upon others.

PSUC Adjunct Lecturer of Gender and Women’s Studies Butterfly Blaise said she doesn’t support the notion of rewording the term “marriage” for LGBT couples. She also does not support marriage legislation as it applies to discrimination.

“No governing body should be able to tell you who you can and cannot love,” she said.

Kay Branagan, a PSUC lecturer of Africana Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies, said in an email she agrees with Tiffany’s advertising campaign. However, they are not the only companies to openly support gay marriage.

Branagan said the models of the ad are a real couple from Michigan, a state that “does not have marriage equality.”

Branagan said her religion recognizes both forms of marriage, and that because the U.S. government focuses on a separation of church and state, civil marriage rights should be guaranteed.

“Unfortunately, religion has been used as a cover for discrimination,” she said.

Branagan teaches a class called Gay and Lesbian Studies. The purpose of this class, Branagan said, is to take into account the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities by race, class and gender.

“For me, it is academic, but also personal,” Branagan said. “I survived the 1950s and have had a long involvement in the LGBT movement.”

According to National Public Radio, the Supreme Court will “review an appellate court’s decision to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky. The case will be argued in April; a decision is expected by late June.”

“I would want to remind anyone being bullied that love is greater than hate,” Blaise said in an email. “If you have a chance to love, love with all you have. It will get better and there are people who want to see you succeed and will support you on the days that others try to tear you down.”

She also said there are initiatives on campus, such as the LGBTQ Student Union.

Sophomore Katie Bedell said, “It’s time to let other people live their lives.”

Email Timothy Lyman at timothy.lyman@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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