25 years after Steven Llanusa and Glen Miya met at the University of California, Los Angeles while attending a men's rap group, the couple returned to the scene of the crime to participate in the Student Coalition for Marriage Equality's 5th annual same-sex marriage ceremony.
The couples' recommitment ceremony took place at the campus' Bruin Plaza and was officiated by John Crabtree-Ireland, with guest speakers Executive Director of the Equality Campaign Robin Tyler, Professor in Art History and Communications Paul Von Blum, and Dawn and Marie Cobalt. Miya and Llanusa were excited to be able to celebrate their commitment to one another once again before a crowd of students and faculty. "It's a different statement when you make a commitment in public," said Miya. "It makes us part of the community."
Of being back at UCLA, Llanusa said it was very emotionally fulfilling. "We had our wedding ceremony with our family and friends, and now we get to celebrate here with our Bruin family. And we get to have 2 wedding cakes."
Llanusa and Miya, who married in August 2008, is part of the 18,000 couples who are currently waiting on the ruling of the California supreme court on the validity of their marriage.
"It really is different to say 'He's my spouse.' It implies there is a commitment, it implies there is a future, it implies there's a lot of work together. The public knows, and recognizes that. It implies all of that. Words do make a difference. I don't take it for granted," said Miya of being able to call Llanusa his husband.
Nonetheless, the couple remains light-hearted about the issue saying, "if the supreme court rules that our wedding isn't valid, we'll celebrate our non-iversary if we can't have an anniversary."
In addition to the ceremony, the couple, who resides in Claremont with their 3 sons, have also participated in 13 Love Stories , a unique multimedia advocacy project that profiles the moving stories of 13 couples whose lives were profoundly affected by Proposition 8.
The annual mock wedding ceremony began in 2005 by the student organization SCME in response to the beginning movement of same-sex marriage legalization in Massachusetts and San Francisco.
President of SCME Raffi Sarkissian says the ceremony has become such a tradition and staple, a part of campus culture, with many other university's following in the organization's footsteps, and hopes that the event will spread further.