Dozens of couples made history when they tied the knot at the 56th Grammy Awards on Sunday night. The happy couples from all walks of life got hitched during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's groundbreaking performance of their pro-unity, gay tolerance anthem, "Same Love."
During the performance of the Grammy-nominated song, Queen Latifah – who became a commissioer just for the occasion — presided over the unions of 34 gay, straight and multiracial couples, and Madonna serenaded them with a slowed-down version of her 1986 hit "Open Your Heart."
"It was an absolutely surreal experience," said Jason Miller, who married his longtime love Yawar Charlie during the awards show. "Being surrounded by all of the celebrities and having Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform along with Madonna was amazing. And Queen Latifah being our officiant — we were speechless."
All of the couples who took part in the ceremony had to keep it a secret until just before the Grammy broadcast, signing non-disclosure agreements to ensure the big event would be a surprise. "We had to keep it a secret until yesterday but we were able to tell close family and friends last week," explains Patricia Garcia, who married Christine Garcia, her girlfriend of five years. "We had to wait three weeks until we could tell anyone — it was really hard!"
Both couples agreed that this was an incredible opportunity with profound cultural significance that they couldn't pass up. "We couldn't not agree to be a part of history," Christine said.
"We had a commitment ceremony a year and a half ago before Proposition 8 was overruled," Patricia added, referring to the initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California until it was declared unconstitutional. "Legally getting married in front of so many people and making history was incredible."
Since they tied the knot, friends, family, and well-wishers have come out of the woodwork to congratulate them. "They have been so happy — crying, emotional and ecstatic!" Christine said.
Christine and Patricia had another reason to celebrate — Patricia is now in full remission after battling a rare form of cancer. The 26-year-olds supported each other through the difficult time, and are now thrilled to be able to help spread a message of love and tolerance. "I think for the past couple of years it's been very hard for young people all over the world being gay and not being able to cope with themselves," Christine said.
"It can be even harder depending on your culture," Patricia added. "We wanted to send [a message] that we are all one and put out that face of love."
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Charlie shared that sentiment. "Jason and I are a mixed-race couple," he explained. "My family is Pakistani and Jason is from Pennsylvania — we're very much a non-traditional couple in that respect. This was an opportunity to show the different faces of America and gay America."
What's more, Charlie said that the song "Same Love" has always been very special to him and his new husband. "That song really touched the both of us for its bravery and simple way of showing that love is love," he said.