The Real Deal New York

Real estate pros shed apolitical image to campaign for marriage equality

Bond NY embraces popular Human Rights Campaign push for gay rights
By Guelda Voien | March 28, 2013 06:00PM

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases that deal with the legality of same sex marriage. And, as anyone active on social media can attest, the issue has been front and center on people’s minds. Many individual Facebook users have changed their profile photos to a special red version of the Human Rights Campaign logo — a pink equal sign inside a red square — in order to show their support for gay marriage. What may surprise some is that the traditionally stuffy, buttoned up and apolitical — if not outright conservative — real estate industry is no exception.

In the boldest move so far, the residential brokerage Bond New York today changed the logo on its website to a version that incorporates the HRC emblem (pictured above). And the firm’s slogan, “Move | Forward,” written in pink font, took on a whole new meaning.

Bond co-founder Noah Freedman said his company frequently changes the logo on its site, much like Google cycles through different images on its homepage. But he added that this alteration was of particular importance to him because he wants to support the cause in solidarity with his father, who is gay.

“It was my idea; I think it is an important issue,” he told The Real Deal.

Real estate brokers and executives who spoke with The Real Deal today said they also supported Bond’s choice, with many adding that they were looking for ways to raise money or awareness about marriage rights, which they believe are important to many of their clients and to many New Yorkers.

“I love seeing that,” said Jason Haber, CEO of residential brokerage Rubicon Property, of Bond’s adopted imprint.

Rubicon is planning activities in support of gay marriage that it will hopefully reveal in the coming days, he said. “We very well may end up doing something along those lines,” he said.

Real estate’s younger generation may be much more willing to wear their political hearts on their sleeves—or at least their websites, Haber added.

“There is a zeitgeist, it has to do with social media, the way we are exposed to the world,” he said of the younger real estate crowd. But, he hastened to add, in New York City, support for gay marriage is not the most controversial stance, even if it might be in other parts of the country.

“I don’t think it’s a profile in courage,” to make public political statements, he said, “but I think it’s admirable.”

Even brokers from what many consider the most reserved sectors of real estate told The Real Deal they fervently support marriage rights. Elizabeth Stribling-Kivlan, the president of Stribling & Associates, said she has an equal sign representing her support of marriage equality on her personal webpage, and has long been involved with the gay community.

“I hope everyone has the right to marry,” she said.

Of course, we probably won’t see Stribling-Kivlan flying a gigantic rainbow flag over the Upper East Side any time soon. She said she relegates her opinions to her personal website, although her beliefs are strongly held.

“On the company page, we really focus on real estate,” she said.