Ivonne and Bob Rosnik gave up their real-estate business in May, but over the past fifteen years, the statuesque Swiss matron and her soft-spoken lawyer husband helped more than 150 gay and lesbian couples and individuals buy into the American dream. "For us it was just natural, business-wise, to be involved with the gay community, because we have so many contacts in the gay community," says Ivonne. The Rosniks have four grown children, two of whom are gay; as soon as their eldest son came out in 1982, they joined Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -- Ivonne running the hotline and coordinating the speakers' bureau. Business was so good, in fact, that they acquired clients only by referral. "One led to another, and that's how we built up a very solid business," she says. "There are a lot of gay and lesbian realtors, but what was unusual was that I was a mom, so I was involved as a parent working with gay couples."
Ivonne's favorite story involves two men. "They were delightful people. They wanted a property in the mountains where they could have non-traditional animals -- a llama and maybe a goat, which most zoning doesn't allow -- and they wanted land around it. We finally found a place in their price range on the other side of Bailey Mountain. That's a long way from Denver. I set up the showing, and when they saw the house and the sixteen acres, they said, 'This is our place!' I went to the door and it says 'The Joneses.' I rang the bell and this lady appeared, in her late fifties, and right behind her was another lady about the same age. This was a lesbian couple, and we found out there were about ten other lesbian and gay couples in that same area."
It's too late for the Rosniks to help you buy a house, but you can still benefit from their expertise: They're now selling Pre-Paid Legal Services ("It covers domestic partnership and is available for nonmarried heterosexuals and also gay and lesbian couples," Ivonne notes). But then, even if Bob and Ivonne were selling free condoms, we'd buy some.