The 2014 Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles featured a star-studded pro-gay marriage event as music artist Queen Latifah, who is legally deputized to conduct wedding ceremonies, married 34 couples, both gay and straight.
The event featured a live performance of the pro-LGBT song "Same Love" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, with Madonna joining in later on in an all-white suit, singing "Open Your Heart."
"Same Love" includes lyrics chiding conservatives and those who oppose gay marriage: "The right-wing conservatives think it's a decision; And you can be cured with some treatment and religion; Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition, playing God; … America the brave still fears what we don't know; And 'God loves all his children' is somehow forgotten; But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago; ... When I was at church they taught me something else; If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed."
Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, insisted that the mass wedding ceremony was not a stunt. He commented , "I expect that people with all kinds of opinions might voice them, and that's healthy. We don't need to stoop to the level of trying to find gimmicks and sensationalistic approaches to what we do."
Latifah clarified that she was sworn in only as a temporary commissioner by the state of California, where gay marriage is legal, and that she was approached to officiate the mass wedding celebration about two weeks ago. The 34 couples that were married were reportedly from various ages and sexual orientations.
"The weight of it comes down, because it wouldn't matter if you're same-sex couples or heterosexual couples or interracial couples, it doesn't matter to me, this is someone's life committed to one another, and you want to make sure you do it right," she said, according to New York Daily News. "That is what sunk in for me."
Latifah further pointed out that the hip-hop industry has been speaking out about controversial subjects for a long time.
"When I started rapping, it was much more common for rappers to speak about different things going on in the world," she continued. "We're part of the reason apartheid was changed. We brought it to the attention of a lot of people who didn't know what was going on, or violence in the communities or anything that was some type of social injustice. We've always been able to talk about it through hip hop."
Breitbart.com wrote, however, that the music awards show "fired off a culture war missile aimed at those who believe in a traditional definition of marriage," or the union between one man and one woman.
"No matter where one stands on the issue of gay marriage, it's impossible to deny in an age of hot button issues it's among the hottest," the publication wrote. "The show's focus suddenly shifted from today's best singing stars to a soapbox complete with Madonna wearing a white ensemble from a rodeo exhibit."