By Megan G. Razzetti
Millions watched as 34 couples took their vows at the Grammys last January, One of those couples included Patricia Garcia and her partner Christine Ruiz.
When East Los Angeles College student Patricia tied the knot with her wife at the Grammy’s, she never expected the kind of impact it would have in her life.
Popular hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, performed their hit ‘Same Love’ accompanied by Mary Lambert, Queen Latifah and Madonna.
Patricia, a Montebello native majoring in Sociology and Women’s Studies, describes the chain of events leading up to the special moment as completely weird.
“In the weeks leading up to the Grammys, we were not allowed to tell anyone about the wedding because we signed a confidentiality agreement,” Patricia said.
The couples lined the aisle, exchanging vows during a live wedding ceremony officiated by Latifah.
In same sex marriage, couples tend to keep their own last names, but in the case of Patricia and Christine, they opted to to share Patricia’s last name Garcia
In 2012,the battle against Proposition 8, which was created to ban same-sex marriages in the state of California, was raging.
In June of 2012, Patricia was diagnosed with Thymoma, a rare form of cancer.
“I was devastated. The whole family was in the room when the results came in,”Christine said, “Everyone cried except for her (Patricia), who stayed strong and asked what the next steps would be. I had no choice but to be strong.”
The couple then decided to have an intimate commitment ceremony.They celebrated their love for each other among 50 of their closest friends and family.
When same sex marriage became legalized in the state of California in 2013, Patricia and Christine were still not legally married.
“One of my best friends casts TV shows and was looking for people to get married at the Grammy’s,” said Stacey Ruiz, Christine’s sister, “I thought of my sister who wasn’t legally married yet.”
Patricia could not keep the secret from everyone. She turned to her closest friend for help preparing for the big day.
“Patricia came to me asking for my help,” said Jasmine Varten, Patricia’s closest friend. “She had no idea what she would be wearing.”
Vartan then enlisted the help of her husband to sketch out and create a wedding dress suitable for the Grammy’s and helped with Patricia’s makeup the day of the event.
The reality of the actual event did not really sink in until the exact moment they were about to walk out during the performance.
“Throughout the day, nobody really realized the impact that this might have,” Paricia said, “We spent the day bonding with the other couple. It didn’t hit us until we were actually about to walk out.”
She also was amazed to see the diversity of couples that were involved with the event.
They ranged from gay, straight, elderly and interracial.
All eyes were on all the couples as they exchanged vows.
Despite everything that was surrounding the couple, Patricia felt as if Christine and she were the only ones there.
“As we exchanged vows, it felt like everyone was shut out, that it was only Christine and I,” said Patricia.
Christine said the whole experience helped bring positive energy in their lives as they began a new year.
The media followed the excitement of the event.
Patricia and Christine’s quick interview on Access Hollywood helped connect Patricia with a patient who also was going through the cancer she had to battle.
“A woman contacted me after she heard my story on Access Hollywood,” Patricia said, “She has a husband with the same cancer I had.”
Patricia explained the kind of treatment she had gone through and even visited them.
“I didn’t know how much of an impact this would make,” said Patricia.
Patricia’s sister in law and best friend has always been active in spreading awareness.
Patricia’s activism does not only include the on going fight for the civil rights of the LGBT community but also for the rights of undocumented people.
“She always puts others first,” Vartan said. .
Patricia has participated in many protests including one that involved her fasting for the Dream Act, bill designed to help undocumented students receive residency for a certain amount of time in the United States.
Patricia’s activism has also spread to her wife who credits Patricia for teaching her about other people and the way they live.
“She taught me to be active and to be an ally to other,” Christine said.
After 6 months of being in remission, Patricia has made plans to transfer from ELAC.
She has already been accepted to Mills College in Northern California. However, she is still awaiting news from Mount Holyoke College.
“I want to ultimately go to law school,” Patricia said.
Patricia said through her experience, she hopes that people will become more tolerant of each other.