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Macklemore heats up Aussie marriage debate with powerful ‘Same Love’ rugby show

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The National Rugby League is completely embroiled in Australia’s marriage vote.

2017 NRL Grand Final - Storm v Cowboys
Storm players sing the national anthem before the 2017 NRL Grand Final match.
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

As Australia votes on a referendum about same-sex marriage, the sports world in the country has been at the center of the debate.

Sports leagues and organizations have waded head-first into the topic of marriage equality in the last couple of weeks, with the National Rugby League at the top of the list.

That hasn’t sat well with some people who don’t want the sports world promote values like equality.

“You are nothing more than obsequious, fawning, sycophantic political whores,” said sports analyst Sam Newman in response to the NRL’s pro-equality position. “You have no right to get involved in political messages.”

At the National Rugby League final on Sunday, Macklemore performed his hit song ‘Same Love.’ Leading up to the match, thousands of people signed a petition to stop him from performing the pro-equality song. To the NRL’s credit, the league didn’t stop him from what was a pretty clear endorsement of the “Yes” vote.

From Billboard:

When Macklemore and Mary Lambert took the stage at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney, the stadium screen behind them displayed messages like “We stand for inclusiveness” and “We stand for equality” as multicolored balloons descended into the audience.

One radio station decided to not air Macklemore’s performance, instead playing a rap song performed by one of their hosts.

The NRL has not been deterred by the detractors, even tweeting the full performance after match:

Macklemore previously said he was donating proceeds from ‘Same Love’ to help the pro-equality side of Australia’s marriage debate.

The popular vote will continue for the next few weeks. It’s a non-binding vote, with “Yes” signaling an endorsement of marriage equality.