The following first-person account of the Grammys' wedding was submitted to us by Brittany Pennington, who married her partner Sally Beaver on that historic day.
In December my partner and I submitted to a casting call looking for a diverse group of couples who wanted to get married at a huge event. Once we had been chosen we were told it would take place at the Grammys. Coming from a family who loves music, I was ecstatic. With only a month to prepare I didn't have much time to think about all that was about to happen. We were so nervous and curious about where they would fit the mass wedding into the Grammys.
The Friday before the show we flew to Los Angeles excited to hear about details of the rehearsal that would take place the next day. We couldn't eat anything; all the excitement had taken over. It wasn’t until we arrived at the Staples Center for rehearsal, just one day before the Grammys, that we were told we would be married during Macklemore's performance of "Same Love." All along I had hoped it would have to do with that song because of its universal power. Then, Queen Latifah walked in as the officiate, followed by Madonna who would sing during the performance. I was shocked to see that such amazing people who would have a part in my wedding.
After doing a run-through of the show my wife and I began to cry because the rehearsal was so moving. We knew it was going to be a powerful performance. Neither one of us slept well that night because we were so excited to get married. The day of the Grammys we prepared with the other 32 couples in a tent that was set up for us. That day I got to know some amazing people. Each couple had a unique story. Each one of us was different but all were brought together by love.
I heard the song start when it came time for us to head to the stage, and I remember being so nervous knowing that the building was packed with people. The crowd stood up and started cheering as we walked down the aisle. At that point, surprisingly, all the nervousness went away and all I wanted to do was cry. I looked over at my beautiful partner, whom I love so much, and then I heard and saw people (Latifah, Madonna) I’ve looked up to my whole life crying and cheering for something that means so much to me... It was truly the most amazing feeling.
I got to marry the love of my life in front of the world at the Grammys and I wouldn't have done it any other way. I have heard people saying on social media that the mass wedding was just a show. Although the wedding was part of Macklemore's performance, it was still our wedding. Everyone shows love in his or her own way. Marrying my wife in front of millions was my way of showing it. While Queen Latifah was performing the ceremony, all I saw was my wife. It was our moment that just so happened to air on TV, but it was not just a show. Since the wedding, people from all over the world have reached out to us saying that they are inspired by our love and how we stood up for equality. We’ve received some of the kindest letters from people in Brazil, Canada, London, and Germany. I knew this would be big but I didn't expect to inspire so many people.
A year ago Sally and I moved from our home state of Arizona to Seattle, Wash., where gay marriage is recognized. I love Arizona -- it’s my home, but I needed to live some place where I have rights. I was surprised that after the wedding several news outlets in Arizona ran stories about us -- radio interviews, newspapers, magazine stories… It showed me that my home state has hope for equality, although some conservatives have said a lot of hateful things since the wedding. Good “Christians” have written terrible things about us online like, “You will all will burn in hell,” adding that those of us lesbians and gays who were married are “perverted, disgusting people", and so on. It's heartbreaking that some people are so hateful about our love.
When we arrived home from Los Angeles we had some wedding photos taken. Our very good friend and photographer shot one of the photos by a wall that reads, “Moved Mountain.” I think that saying perfectly illustrates the current state of marriage rights. It symbolizes all the states that have had to fight to win marriage equality. Gay people have struggled and fought and continue to struggle all over the world. The ability to be legally married and to be afforded the rights we deserve is a moved mountain for us. I don't think I ever dreamed of being able to marry my wife legally, let alone to do it with 32 other couples on the Grammys. This battle has not been won for every gay person around the world yet -- but I hope our story gives people hope. We can do this together -- one mountain at a time.