Erika Winters Fine Jewelry: Love Wins


On Friday June 26, 2015, my friends and family celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation. For the last several days I’ve read scores of articles on the ruling and have had the pleasure of seeing an endless stream of support for marriage equality on social media with the simple hashtag #LoveWins. Love did indeed win, love and so much more. As the echoes of the word “equality” resonate in my mind, I wanted to write a few words about how much marriage equality means to me.

I am fortunate to be a bridal designer who creates wedding jewelry for loving couples. So many of these couples have brought me to tears with their stories of how they met, how they fell in love, and how they ultimately want to spend the rest of their lives together. When I meet with these couples, their passion for each other is so palpable that I all I want to do is make them happy and thank them for asking me to be a part of their journey. I’m also reminded of why I do this and how I began.

On a gorgeous October evening in Los Angeles (I now live in Seattle), my then boyfriend Peter took me to “our beach” in Venice for a sunset walk. Right before we were about to leave the beach, he got down on one knee, pulled a ring out of his pocket, and he proposed to me right when the sun started to fade from the horizon. This man, an artist who is not conventional or traditional in any way, wanted to propose to me and marry me with the most universally accepted customs, customs that are easily taken for granted. I’ve written about this in my bio, but that ring, that day, and everything it symbolized, launched my career in the jewelry industry.

So the day of the SCOTUS ruling, I thought back to Peter’s proposal and also to our ceremony at City Hall. As I saw photo after photo of same-sex couples in line to get married, I couldn’t dry my eyes. The fact that these couples had been denied a basic civil right for so long—couples who had been together for decades—moved me more than I could’ve ever imagined. It was an incredible day. I’ll never forget it.

I’ve always supported marriage equality, but supporting it and witnessing a federal ruling that affirms it are entirely different. The former is a hope, the latter is pure relief. Relief that this country is civilized. Relief that equal rights and protections are still fought for and finally won. And though there are still some opponents of this incredible advancement, the majority ruled. Our civil rights won.