Gay couples throw ring into the hat

Gay-themed ad campaign Photo: Beau DonellyA luxury jeweller is the latest company to throw its support behind marriage equality by becoming the first Australian business to use real gay couples in a mainstream advertising campaign.
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The Mondial Jewellery Group has taken out full-page advertisements in glossy magazines that hit shelves from Monday, featuring same-sex couples with the tagline “All Love Is Equal”.

The advertisements, in September’s issue of GQ and next month’s Harper’s Bazaar, promote the jeweller’s new wedding and commitment ring business, Eternal by Mondial.

In one of the ads, Australian Trevor Torrance and his English husband Stuart Baker appear with their three-year-old daughter. Newlyweds Allison Whitlock and Stacey Lee Raddatz, who live in Sydney and married in New York earlier this year, are featured in another.

Mondial joins a long list of Australian companies to publicly back same-sex marriage, with a recent newspaper advertisement listing dozens of corporations that have pledged support for law reform to allow gay unions.

The campaign comes after the Abbott government killed off the prospect of legalising gay marriage in this term and flagged that the question might be put to public vote after the next election.

Nadia Neuman, creative director of the Mondial Jewellery Group, said the timing of the campaign was not politically motivated, but that she hoped it would strike a chord with Australians.

Ms Neuman, who is engaged to her partner Lucy Taylor (the couple’s daughter, Lola, is featured with her biological father in one of the ads), said it would have been hypocritical not to use same-sex couples and to do the “same thing everybody else does by reinforcing the same idea and perception of reality”.

“I have an opportunity to represent something that has meaning to me and can affect the way other people look at the world,” she said.

“It’s my reality. I’m in a same-sex relationship, we have a daughter. It’s the reality of most of my friends, some of my family. I wanted to do something that represents other real, valid, important, necessary, genuine, loving relationships.”

Ms Neuman, who has designed and sold engagement rings and wedding bands for the past 20 years, said it was unjust that gay couples were unable to marry in Australia.

She urged the fashion industry to lead the way in promoting same-sex relationships in the media and said big businesses should embrace gay-themed marketing, as in the US. Recent campaigns by Tiffany & Co, Gap, Hallmark and pharmaceutical giant Tylenol have featured gay couples.

“We don’t see it nearly as often as we should,” Ms Neuman said. “The more we see it and the more we normalise it, that’s what will create a change in people’s attitudes towards same-sex couples.”

Mondial last year launched a unisex “equality ring” and donated all profits from sales in the first 12 months to lobby group Australian Marriage Equality.

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