Contemporary houseware giant Crate & Barrel is giving one lucky couple $100,000 to make their ‘Ultimate Wedding’ dreams come true. The winning couple can be gay or straight, the company says. ‘The Ultimate Wedding’ sweepstakes asks couples to post a small profile to Crate & Barrel’s website that gives a brief synopsis of their love story. The couple must then earn votes from online users in order to advance to the next stage of the competition. The 50 contestants who receive the most votes will move to the final round of the contest and Crate & Barrel judges will select one lucky couple to win their ‘Ultimate Wedding’. Numerous same-sex couples are already strong contenders in the race. Longtime partners Gregory Jones and Jonathan Howard, for instance, currently hold the #2 spot for most votes earned. Howard was the victim of a bias-motivated crime in August 2008, during which he suffered significant head and spinal injuries. Howard says his love for Greg helped him get through the attack.
“After the attack and the trial Greg stood by my side,” Howard writes. “He held me up and he pushed me forward. He was there with me through the constant nightmares and my struggle to understand. He was also the one who helped me gain the courage to speak out about what happened to me.”Now, some bloggers are harassing Jones and Howard about their success in the competition. One Chicago-based blogger who claims to be in the “law enforcement industry” was particularly menacing with a post that called Jones and Howard a “fruit loop couple” and made other crude and defamatory comments. Anonymous comments following the post referred to the couple as “flammin fa**ots.” That content has since been removed from the blogger’s website. Discouraged by the comments, Howard considered dropping out of the contest, but quickly realized he had to stay visible and make a difference:
“I think about all that I have been through,” Howard writes on his blog. “My struggle to come out, the lack of acceptance, being attacked for being true to myself, finding the perfect man and loving him openly and honestly, getting engaged and making the decision to enter a contest knowing that it would be a difficult road.
“There is no way that I can drop out of this competition and retreat. I cannot stop being who I am and I need to make a difference. Words are powerful, and so are actions. And just like words of hatred can have power over people, words of hope can have power over people as well. We have the power to change society, we have the power to make a difference.”Other same-sex couples who are performing strongly in the contest include ‘Mikey and Earl’, ‘Emily and Rachel’, and‘Ed and Erwin’. Be sure to support your favorite couples at http://www.ultimateweddingcontest.com/ GLAAD applauds Crate & Barrel for its inclusive rules in the ‘Ultimate Wedding Contest’ which give visibility to loving and committed same-sex couples everywhere. We also commend Gregory Jones and Jonathan Howard for their courage in standing up and celebrating their love despite some defamatory attacks. For more information, visit http://www.crateandbarrel.com