In 2013, the hip-hop artist Macklemore released an anthem for gay equality called “Same Love.” It became one of his biggest hits and an inspiring tune in the lead-up to America’s eventual 2015 legalization of marriage equality.
He’s scheduled to sing the song at this Sunday’s Grand Final game of Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL), but because the country is in the middle of a contentious public postal vote on marriage equality, a petition has started to pressure him into not singing it (presumably because singing it will remind everyone how hateful it is to deny your neighbors equal rights). But Macklemore isn’t having it, and has pledged to sing the song anyway and “go harder” in the face of their opposition.
Some background: Australia is currently holding a nationwide poll to determine whether its citizens want legalized marriage equality. Though the poll is non-binding — Aussie politicians won’t have to legalize same-sex marriage no matter the poll’s results — its widely considered to be a measure of the public pressure that politicians will face if they continue to do nothing.
In anticipation of Macklemore’s coming performance of “Same Love” at the NRL Grand Final, the former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has voiced displeasure and an Australian footballer named Tony Wall started an online petition meant to force Macklemore into dropping the song from his setlist. The petition (which we won’t be linking to) reads:
It will be very difficult to watch the NRL Grand Final with my wife and five young children as the event will be heavily politicized with a LGBTIQ anthem taking centre stage.
My family and many other loyal NRL fans, who are No voters, will not feel comfortable watching the Grand Final when the NRL is imposing such a bold political stance on its fans while the issue is currently being voted on by the Australian people.
Join with me in voicing your concern and demand that the NRL take a neutral position on the question of same-sex marriage.
Thus far, the petition has 12,581 signers and uses an image of an unhappy father covering the eyes of his horrified child as his shocked wife stares agape at the television. The photo insinuates that marriage equality is somehow dangerous to kids and offensive to families. It isn’t.
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Wall intends on sending the petition to the NRL’s Chief Executive Officer Todd Greenberg, but the NRL has already signaled via Twitter that they aren’t bothered by the idea of Macklemore’s hit:
He is actually singing all his biggest hits – as his fans would expect.
— NRL Media (@NRLMedia) September 27, 2017
Macklemore isn’t happy about the pressure either. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles, California-based radio station Power 106, Macklemore told The Cruz Show, “I’m getting a lot of tweets from angry old white dudes in Australia. I think there is a petition today to ban me from playing it. It’s interesting times….I’m gonna go harder.”
— The Cruz Show (@TheCruzShow) September 27, 2017
It’s unclear what “go harder” means exactly, but it’ll be interesting to see how his performance goes over on the actual day of the NRL Grand Final.
Watch the heart-melting video of Macklemore’s “Same Love” below:
Featured image by NPR Music / Lauren Rock