Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he sees no problem with Macklemore performing his pro-gay marriage anthem "Same Love" at the National Rugby League finals in Sydney this Sunday.
Turnbull supports Macklemore's right to choose his own music
“What’s the problem?” Turnbull asked. “Honestly, I don’t think trying to censor the playlist at halftime entertainment is – it’s certainly not my role. I look forward to it.”
Macklemore's performance has proven controversial within Australia since it comes amidst the country's same-sex marriage postal survey, which seeks to gauge support for gay marriage. The survey is non-binding, but if the people vote yes, the Turnbull led government has promised to introduce a bill for legalizing same-sex marriage into the legislature.
Opponents of marriage equality have cried foul at Macklemore performing "Same Love" at a high profile event. Rugby is the number one sport in Australia, and the finals will be watched by millions.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbot has called for a ban of the song at the NRL. Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said that if a pro-gay marriage song is played at the finals then it should be balanced out by an anti-gay marriage song. Although as Pink News has pointed out, there are no released professional songs that is explicitly against gay marriage.
In response to Abbot's statement, Turnbull said, “Everyone is entitled to have their say and if people want to express views on songs or anything else, they’re entitled to do so." He then added, “I’m for free speech and in this case for the artist’s right to sing his song. I mean, in 1991 at the NRL grand final the Village People did YMCA.”
Macklemore addresses "Same Love" controversy
Speaking to The Cruz Show, a US Radio program, Macklemore said “I’m going to Australia to perform at kind of the Superbowl of their rugby league...I’m getting a lot of tweets from angry old white dudes in Australia. I think there’s a petition today to ban me from playing it. It’s interesting times in Australia.” He also promised that he will "go harder" to rebuke the criticism.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the NRL said “Macklemore was chosen as the grand final act because he is currently one of the top acts in the world...The response from fans has been overwhelmingly positive – many young people are coming to the grand final just to see him...Naturally he will be performing his number one hits on Sunday. The fans would not expect anything less.”
And Macklemore did deliver. He performed "Same Love" amidst rainbow fireworks while, the stadium's LCD screens displayed "We stand for equality," fans were receptive as they flashed their phones up in the air.
The rapper also tweeted out that this performance is "one of the greatest honors" of his career.
Previously he also told Channel Nine in Australia that he will donate proceeds of the single's sales within the country to the yes campaign for marriage equality.
"Same Love" is a 2012 single released by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. It talks about gay rights and was actually adopted as an anthem by groups supporting marriage equality. In line with its message, the cover art features Macklemore's uncle John Haggerty and his husband Sean. The song reached number 11 on the US Billboard 100, and number 1 on the Australian charts.