Macklemore’s Plan To Play LGBT Anthem in Australia Prompts Backlash

As the postal vote on the issue of same-sex marriage continues in Australia, there are no signs that the spirit of the debate is improving. With weeks of campaigning to go, the homophobic rhetoric from politicians and public figures opposing same-sex marriage has been truly shocking.

US rapper Macklemore has found himself at the centre of the latest storm to hit the campaign. Although Macklemore identifies as straight, and is married to a woman, he has long been an ally of the LGBT community. In 2013 he released Same Love, a song that advocates for equal rights and condemns LGBT bullying, stereotyping and societal homophobia. Songs with this message are rare, particularly from rappers, so it’s unsurprising that that the track quickly gained a huge LGBT fan base. The song even became the unofficial anthem of the same-sex campaign in the US before it was legalised in 2015. Pop-culture fiends will remember a stunning performance featuring Madonna at the Grammy Awards in 2014. During the performance, same-sex couples were married by Queen Latifa. You can watch the video below.

Macklemore has been asked to play the half-time show at the NRL Grand Final in Sydney this weekend. This is basically the Australian Super Bowl, except with rugby, and is one of the most-watched sporting events of the year. Yet, rather predictably, the news that his four-track set will include Same Love has angered opponents of same-sex marriage.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, wrote on Twitter: “Footy fans shouldn’t be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport!”

The former Prime Minister opposes same-sex marriage despite the fact that his sister, Christine Forster, is in a relationship with a woman. He even went as far to suggest that it would be better for Foster’s children to be raised by a straight couple. Despite this, his daughter appeared in an advert for the Yes campaign this week supporting same-sex unions, saying: “You can’t help who you fall in love with.”

Abbott isn’t alone in protesting the song. Former player Tony Wall called on fans to, “Join with me in voicing your concern and demand that the NRL take a neutral position on the question of same-sex marriage.”

The role of politics in sport has long been a contentious subject. Just this week, President Donald Trump directed his anger towards NFL players who “take the knee” during the US national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans. This led to players “taking the knee” en masse in protest at Trump’s remarks. But it’s undeniable that demonstrations can bring about change. Protests at South African rugby games caused public humiliation for the national team. This put huge international pressure on the South African government and ultimately played a large role in ending apartheid in the country.

With this in mind, we hope that Macklemore does perform Same Love this weekend and changes a few hearts and minds along the way. The song is about love, kindness and acceptance, and goodness knows we could all use some of that.

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