More Than a Wedding
BY Neal Broverman
April 15 2011 1:58 PM ET
Robbie Cronrod and Allen Artcliff need your vote. The Los Angeles couple are in the running to win a $100,000 wedding in Crate & Barrel's Ultimate Wedding contest, and if they gather enough votes (they're currently in second place) and meet enough of the furniture store's criteria, they could be the first same-sex couple to win the prize. Cronrod, 34, and Artcliff, 38, would be thrilled to have a blowout reception in Los Angeles (their ceremony will be in Boston), but they say they're doing this to make a point about marriage equality. The couple's efforts to ratchet up more votes by the time the contest closes on April 30 have cost them hours of sleep and incurred a steady steam of intolerance from some observers, including gay people. Sharing an iPhone to talk to The Advocate, Cronrod and Artcliff told us why this contest means so much to them.
Below, see a video from Cronrod's grandparents in support of marriage equality.
The Advocate: So, first tell us how the contest works.
Robbie Cronrod: There’s one prize that’s just based off of top votes (a $7,500 Crate & Barrel gift card). The actual grand prize, winning the wedding, has a couple of factors involved. There’s a total of 100 points broken out into five segments of 20. The first segment of 20 points is based on the number of votes, so if you get in the top 10 votes, you get the full 20 points. The next three sets of 20 points are based on how well you’ve answered three questions: what’s your love story, what’s your dream wedding, and what’s your dream home. Those are judged by Crate & Barrel and Yifat Oren, who is the wedding coordinator that the winning couple gets to help plan the wedding. The last 20 points is based off of the photos you provided; how well do those photos represent you as a couple and represent how you answered those questions.
You guys plan on getting married in L.A.?
Allen Artcliff: Since we can’t legally get married in L.A., the plan is to go back to Boston and have our ceremony and come back to Los Angeles to have the party and celebrate with all our friends and family and all the media that’s been supporting us.
Why did you guys want to do this?
Robbie: Because everyone keeps seeing marriage equality in the news, but everything you see in the news is generally about a judge, a politician, or a courtroom, and we wanted to do this to put a face on marriage equality. We thought it was really important for people to see a couple that’s been in a loving relationship and who cares about each other and really wants to get married. It’s why we entered the contest; it’s why we’re trying to win. Because we know if we win, there’ll be media attention over a gay couple winning a national competition. We think it’s really important for the general public to see a gay couple, a lesbian couple, in a relationship. That it’s not about sex, it’s about two people in love. What I keep saying to everyone is that I asked Artcliff to marry me, I didn’t ask him to domestic-partnership or civil-partnership me. And it’s really unfortunate that I can’t marry him in California and most of the other states.
Is it right that Cronrod came out not to long before you guys met?
Allen: Robbie didn’t really come out until after we met. He wasn’t even out to himself when we met. I guess he was looking for something and we met [on Match.com] and he wasn’t out to himself or his family, but I supported him and let him do what he needed to do and let him do it in the time he needed to do it — that’s what a partner does, he gives him support, and eventually he came out. He did it when he was ready to do it, but I had been out for years, so I knew exactly what he was going through and I was able to support him through the process.