Pic: Christopher Dube
American rapper Macklemore has refused to back down in the face of calls for his LGBTQ affirming song Same Love to be banned from Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final.
Macklemore is set to perform the track at Sunday’s sporting event while the country is in the middle of a postal survey on whether or not to change the law to allow same-sex marriage. Last year’s Grand Final was watched by 4.2 million Australians.
Released in 2012, the Grammy-nominated Same Love was written about Macklemore’s two gay uncles and gay godfather and is also about how Macklemore himself thought he might be gay when he was younger.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has been campaigning against marriage equality, expressed his support for a petition demanding that the NRL “remove LGBTIQ politics” from the event.
The petition’s creator, former rugby player Tony Wall, said: “It will be very difficult to watch the NRL Grand Final with my wife and five young children as the event will be heavily politicised with a LGBTIQ anthem taking centre stage.”
Abbot agreed on Twitter, writing: “Footy fans shouldn’t be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport!”
Attorney-General George Brandis, said he was surprised by Abbot’s stance. “It is one of [Macklemore’s] most popular songs and for Mr Abbott and anyone else to say that it should be banned I think is a bizarre thing to say. I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech,” Brandis told ABC TV.
Abbot’s daughter, Frances, also responded to her father’s comment by backing the planned performance of Same Love. “I can’t think of a better song for all the hundreds and thousands of people to listen to… This is what we need right now,” she said.
As for the rapper himself, Macklemore addressed the furore on The Cruz Show in the US. “It’s interesting because I am playing Same Love, and they are going through, right now, trying to legalise same-sex marriage,” he said.
“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.”
Macklemore added defiantly: “Imma go harder, Imma love.”
Around 16 million registered Australians as being asked via a postal survey: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” The results of the poll are to be announced in November.
If the public votes in favour of marriage equality, as expected, the government will present a bill in parliament in order to legalise same-sex marriage before the end of the year.